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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 September 2021

Workers shouldn't pay for health and social care plans

Health workers submitted an 800,000-strong petition for an NHS pay rise to Downing Street Photo: Paul Mattsson

Health workers submitted an 800,000-strong petition for an NHS pay rise to Downing Street Photo: Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Glynn Doherty, union organiser in social care

As The Socialist goes to press, the Tories are in open warfare over Boris Johnson's plans on funding social care and the NHS in England.

In the 2019 Tory manifesto, Johnson said: "I guarantee extra funding for the NHS, with 50,000 more nurses. We will not raise the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance".

Nearly two years on and they're still almost 40,000 short of that growth promise, and the second appears in grave danger. Vacancies within social care are predicted to rocket to 170,000 - an increase of over 40% - by the year end, vastly increased by the inept law change on vaccinations. With press reports of the vaccinations law being extended into the NHS, the small growth in nurses' numbers could be halted and start to decline dramatically.

An increase in NI contributions would be significantly weighted against the youngest and lowest paid in the workforce, and many Tory MPs are fearful it would lead to an enormous working-class backlash against not only them, but their capitalist system.

At last, Labour's Keir Starmer has voiced his party's opposition, just over a month after shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth answered a question on TV about the government introducing a new tax to fund social care with "Why would we oppose that?"

For a worker on average earnings of £30k a year, a 1.25% increase in National Insurance would cost them £255 annually. This would equate to a huge chunk of the 3% pay rise for NHS workers. Most social care workers rely on the annual minimum wage uprating to get a pay increase. Thousands more care workers will leave the profession to go and work in Amazon warehouses. Joined-up thinking is not a strongpoint of this government!

Social care needs huge investment so where should the money come from? The top three owners of care homes in the UK are private equity companies, solely operating to accumulate profit. Social care should not only be planned as part of a national set-up with the NHS but it should be nationalised.

If tax or NI increases for ordinary workers are proposed by Johnson, the TUC should be calling for united trade union opposition through action, to add to its words of opposition. If the TUC fails to act, the left - particularly in Unite and Unison, the two largest health and care unions - should be meeting jointly to map a way forward.

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In The Socialist 8 September 2021:


NHS and social care

NHS and social care - make the rich pay, not the workers

Workers shouldn't pay for health and social care plans

End service cuts and care charges

Families demand rights for care home residents

Whipps Cross hospital workers reject the 3%


What we think

A pivotal moment for the trade union movement


Socialist Party news and campaigns

Socialist Party national council - members enthused by excellent in-person meeting

Why I joined the Socialist Party


Education

Union action needed to make schools Covid safe

Fighting NEU leadership needed to tackle school funding crisis

Schools funding crisis fails vulnerable children

University bosses push through pension cuts proposal


9/11 twenty years on

9/11 and the 'War on Terror' twenty years on


Workplace news

Bexley bin workers win big gains after six-week strike

Equity protest to save arts centre forces talks from Newham Council

DWP: Demand safe working and more jobs

DHL workers to strike against wage theft


Youth Fight for Jobs

Organising to defend our future: 9 October- Youth fight for jobs day of action

Building Youth Fight for Jobs in the South West


International news

Libya - ten years after Gaddafi's overthrow

US Supreme Court refuses to challenge Texas abortion ban

Keep fascists out of Portland: Build a mass movement to fight the right


Readers' opinion

The street I live on

Socialist change, not climate change

Vigil: A nuclear sub murder mystery


Obituary

Obituary: Roger Henshaw, comrade and class fighter


 

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