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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 October 2021

News in brief

MPs list Covid failings: Workers' inquiry needed

  (Click to enlarge)

A slow move into lockdown restrictions at the start of the pandemic, a decision to halt testing in March 2020, the disastrous privatised test-and-trace, and sending thousands of Covid-positive patients into care homes - all among the government's "big mistakes" in handling the Covid pandemic in England identified in an official report by MPs. The consequences leave more than 20,000 'excess' deaths.

The report takes evidence from 50 witnesses, including former health secretary Matt Hancock. But there are hundreds of thousands of witnesses to the government's failures better placed to give evidence than the likes of Matt Hancock - the health and care workers, and other key workers on the frontline. We need a democratic workers' inquiry into Covid, and one that is prepared to point the finger at the root of the failures - the government's prioritisation of bosses' profits over our health, and years of underfunding and privatisation in the NHS preceding the pandemic.

A workers' Covid inquiry could further expose not just useless politicians, but the inability of capitalism to keep us healthy and safe. This would need to be linked to the fight for a fully funded, publicly run NHS, and for society run in the interests of the vast majority not the profits of a few.

See 'Covid inquiry? Workers must decide' at socialistparty.org.uk

Private healthcare rip-off

400 million a month is how much the Treasury paid for the use of nearly 8,000 beds in private hospitals during the pandemic. But for the year from March 2020, private hospitals provided just 0.08% of the total number of Covid beds, just eight patients per day.

The Tories like to talk about privatisation giving value for money. This is more proof that the opposite is true, private NHS bosses have been taking our money, delivering peanuts and making an unhealthy profit. We say, bring the whole health service back in house as part of a fully funded, publicly owned, Socialist NHS.


Make the super-rich pay

The government's excuse for raising National Insurance (NI), hitting low-paid workers hardest, was that it is needed to raise 12 billion for health and social care.

Now the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says that is enough just to fix the immediate shortfalls in the health service. The IFS also suggests that the increase in NI would have to more than double to meet what's needed.

We have another suggestion: make the super-rich pay! Britain's billionaires increased their wealth by 106.5 billion in the last year.

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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 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.
  • 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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