Nigel Farage says NHS should be abolished in its current form

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Farage isn’t a fan of the NHS

The leader of Reform UK, Nigel Farage, has said that the NHS should be scrapped in its current form, during a BBC election debate.

Asked by an audience member how the political parties will ensure a fully functioning NHS, Farage claimed that the ‘NHS model isn’t working’, he claimed more investment won’t work, before saying that the ‘model through which we fund health is wrong’.

The arch Brexiteer said we ought to ‘change the model’ when met with accusations that he wanted to privatise the NHS.

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Labour has ‘historic opportunity’ to reverse NHS privatisation, says campaigners

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Labour called on to pledge to take outsourced NHS services in-house during first term

Labour has been told it will have a ‘historic opportunity’ to reverse NHS outsourcing in its first term, if the party wins the general election. 

Assuming Labour takes office on July 5, campaign group We Own It has laid out a plan for Labour not to renew private NHS contracts which are set to expire in the first term of the next government, as analysis has found a huge majority of contracts will need renewing over the next four years.  

Based on an analysis of NHS contracts, data has shown that the next government will inherit 7,452 contracts, worth a total of £29.1bn, between for-profit private companies and local, regional and national NHS entities in England. 

The public ownership campaign group found that 93.7% of these contracts are scheduled to expire before July 2029, worth £19.7bn, leaving the next government with the choice of whether to bring these services back into the NHS.  

Over £1bn is the estimated profits private companies stand to make from all NHS outsourcing contracts the next government will inherit, according to public sector procurement specialists Tussell. This money could help hire over 27,000 NHS nurses, or cover the cost of knee replacement surgeries for over 71,000 NHS patients, We Own It argued.

Professor of Accounting at the University of Edinburgh, Christine Cooper, said: “The evidence suggests that measures to bring back outsourced contracts would enable better public services at lower cost. 

“Whether to outsource to the private sector is no longer a question of ideology, it is a question of economic interest and empirical evidence.”

Continue ReadingLabour has ‘historic opportunity’ to reverse NHS privatisation, says campaigners

Green Party launches general election campaign with pledge to protect NHS from privatisation and clean up rivers

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“We are very clear that these are our priorities – our NHS, housing, climate and nature, public services, and the quality of our water.”

The general election is now in full swing, with parties out on the streets and in the media to make their case to voters. Today, the Green Party of England and Wales formally launched their general election campaign in Bristol, where the party’s co-leader Carla Denyer is hoping to become its second ever MP.

Outgoing Green MP Caroline Lucas opened the launch by saying the Greens were carrying out their “most ambitious general election campaign ever”. She went on to say that by getting more Greens elected to parliament, a Labour government would be “pushed to be bolder and braver on everything from housing, to the NHS, to the accelerating climate crisis”.

Denyer and her fellow co-leader Adrian Ramsay spoke at the campaign launch to set out the party’s core campaign messages. Among them were a commitment to build affordable homes, take action on the cost of living crisis, reverse NHS privatisation and clean up rivers and seas.

As well as attacking the Tories’ record in office, the Greens also used their launch to heavily criticise the Labour Party’s policy offer in the election.

Denyer said: “People are disappointed by the way Starmer has backtracked on his promises on green investment, his weak offer on housing, and now we have Wes Streeting telling us that more privatisation of the NHS is a good thing. When the challenges we face are so huge, people tell us they’re disappointed by the lack of ambition from the Labour Party.”

She added: “Across the country, people now have the chance to vote for real hope and real change. Our politics is broken, our public services are on their knees and people are worse off now than when the Conservatives came to power 14 years ago.

“The case for change is obvious, but it has to be real change that offers real hope. Half measures and broken pledges will not do. The Conservatives are clearly on their way out of government, but Labour is failing to offer the real change needed. 

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Continue ReadingGreen Party launches general election campaign with pledge to protect NHS from privatisation and clean up rivers

Morning Star: The Tories have wrecked the NHS – but that doesn’t mean Labour will rescue it

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The NHS overtook the economy as voters’ biggest concern in February, according to polling by Ipsos. Small wonder when waiting lists have hit 7.5 million: there can hardly be a person in the country who doesn’t have a friend or relative who has been affected.

And the Conservatives bear a heavy responsibility.

In the decade up to the pandemic, real-terms healthcare spending per head rose on average by just 0.4 per cent a year — in four years it actually fell, despite rising pressures on the service.

That compares very poorly to the record of the last Labour government, which raised spending by 5.7 per cent a year on average from 1997-2010. It even compares badly to that of the Thatcher and Major Conservative governments, which averaged a 2.1 per cent annual increase.

But we should be more cautious than Poulter about endorsing Keir Starmer’s solution.

Starmer and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting have pointedly refused to offer the increases in NHS budgets that the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown governments delivered. Streeting is emphatic that he will not “pour money into a 20th-century model,” instead demanding reforms which, in increasing reliance on the private sector, both mimic existing Conservative policy and are unlikely to make a difference to waiting lists (because private healthcare in Britain recruits from the NHS, so overall capacity will not grow).

Britain’s public services are collapsing under the strain of decades of neoliberal policy. In the NHS, hospitals have been undermined through outsourcing services to the private sector as well as by the cost of PFI debt — both issues with their origins in the Blair years.

To restore our NHS to health, we need a reversal of privatisation and outsourcing and a forced end to all PFI contracts, as well as a significant increase in overall funding to bring us closer to healthcare spending levels in France or Germany.

Continue ReadingMorning Star: The Tories have wrecked the NHS – but that doesn’t mean Labour will rescue it

The truth behind Labour’s plans to ‘renationalise’ rail

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One thing about an incoming Labour government looks great: taking the railways into public ownership. But we won’t actually own the trains, warns SOLOMON HUGHES

LABOUR’S plans to renationalise the rail firms by taking over the train operating companies (TOCs) as their contracts come to an end is a big deal.

These are privately run but very heavily publicly subsidised companies that want to pump cash out of the government and passengers and then pump it into their investors’ hands. They are so keen to get the cash that they are rubbish at running the railways. Renationalising them is a good idea.

But if you want to know how some rail privatisation will continue even after Labour’s plans — and how it will continue to squeeze private cash out of public services, it’s worth having a look at the annual accounts of Eversholt UK Rails Ltd, which were published to zero media interest at the end of last month.

The newspapers weren’t interested in the company’s accounts, even though they showed the movement of millions of pounds from the taxpayer to a Hong Kong billionaire’s company. Passengers also won’t generally know Eversholt even exists, which is part of the trick of privatisation.

When the nationally owned British Rail was privatised in the 1990s, it was broken up into three main parts. The track was privatised and handed over to Railtrack, which had to be renationalised in 2002 after the firm did such poor maintenance that passengers started dying in crashes and train speeds were cut to a crawl.

Different regional TOCs were given contracts to run the services on this track. Labour will slowly renationalise these. But TOCs don’t own the trains: the “rolling stock,” the actual engines and carriages were sold off cheaply to three private rolling stock companies or “Roscos.”’s-plans-‘renationalise’-rail

Continue ReadingThe truth behind Labour’s plans to ‘renationalise’ rail