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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 December 2020

Fight for NHS pay and funding

Nurses marching for the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

Nurses marching for the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

On 2 March 2020, as coronavirus cases rose to four in a day, Boris Johnson told us that Britain was "well-prepared with a fantastic NHS". Nine months later, no one doubts that Johnson has lied from the start. Not only was the NHS criminally unprepared by the decades of funding cuts and privatisation, Johnson himself was part of the Tory austerity governments responsible for that.

A new report highlights how austerity - a wealth transfusion from the working class to the bosses via cuts, privatisation and low pay - is a major factor in Britain's Covid performance being one of the worst in the world.

The report correctly points out some of the austerity by which our NHS was so badly undermined: "The budget for Public Health England was cut after its foundation in 2012 by 40%... Spending on public health in local government was cut by about £800 million."

Years of cuts

Tory and Blairite cuts and privatisation laid the basis for today's ambulance queues outside hospitals, staff shortages, and funding shortfalls that now mean millions are denied the health and care service they need. It is the defenders of capitalism who caused this crisis.

These factors alone are enough for a volcano of anger. But there is more - the cronyism, of mates of ministers getting fat contracts in the health service, confirm the impression that ours is increasingly a health service run for profit.

A fightback is necessary to turn our anger into effective change.

The health and care workers fighting for a 15% pay rise show the way. Collective workplace and trade union action has the potential to win. As long as the decisions of the Tories and the fat cats they represent go unchallenged, our NHS will continue to unwind.

It was the intervention by working-class people, through mass struggle and building their own political voice, that delivered the NHS in the first place. Today, the lessons of that period have never been more needed.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 16 December 2020:


News

Unemployment and Covid rising - the crisis is not over - Fight for jobs and safety

Mass testing - we need trade union oversight and full pay for all

Fight for NHS pay and funding

Rich countries hoarding vaccine is danger to us all

No to Tories' new anti-protest law

Maternity unit deaths - democratic, public ownership needed

Met police investigate British mercenary war crimes against Tamils

No surprise, poverty is rising


Education

Cancel exams for class of Covid

Welsh schools close for safety after union pressure

Effective testing and properly funded safety plan needed in schools

East London shows the way: strikes are how to fight for state education

Determined strikers at Leaways school


Workplace News

Openreach and EE: Massive vote for action

PCS union conference stripped of powers by NEC

Unite launch ballot over sacked London bus rep

Christmas redundancy shock at L&Q housing association

Stop 'fire and rehire' at British Gas


New Technology

Can green technology and AI save capitalism?


Engels

'Socialism - Utopian and Scientific' by Engels


Reports & campaigns

Protests in solidarity with Indian farmers

Book: The national question - a Marxist approach

School boy assaulted by police in Tottenham

TUSC relaunch in the north west

Protest against immigration enforcement centre in Newham

Tremendous fighting fund reflects confidence


Quiz

Quiz 2020


 

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Related links:

NHS:

triangleWomen's health matters

trianglePublic sector workers respond to the budget

triangleSocial care: End privatisation and let workers decide how it's run

triangleBoot private companies out of our NHS

triangleTory consultation on home-use abortion pills

Pay:

triangleTories keep bailing out bosses, while piling the pain on workers and public services

triangleA fighting programme for women's rights and socialism

triangleRAF Leeming strike escalates

triangleHMRC: Pay deal agreed but at what cost?

Health:

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The fight for women's health to be a trade union issue

triangleNHS white paper: no solution to failed Tory policies

triangleCovid workplace safety

Cuts:

triangleStop domestic abuse service closures in Brighton

Privatisation:

triangleTories admit market failure - we want our NHS back!

Hospitals:

triangleOverwhelmed, underfunded, underpaid, and still fighting for safe PPE

Covid:

triangleGarment workers and Covid: Dying for less than minimum wage

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