Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Cameron's cunning plan for the NHS.

Election fever continues….except there is no excitement at all. Not surprising really; all the parties are trying to be the same.

Two days ago the Tories announced that their NHS policy was to bring in 7 day a week hospital working by 2020.

With no costings and no indication where the money was coming from I was very sceptical.

The British Medical Association has costed it at £8 Billion and that kind of money doesn’t grow on trees.

It’s good to know that Cameron’s erstwhile buddy and coalition partner for five years Nick Clegg helpfully pointed out yesterday that this £8 Billion hasn’t been funded in the Conservatives plans for the NHS.

It hasn’t.

Well, they have promised not to increase taxes and they are going to reduce the level of debt – where’s it coming from?

The only possibility is that it will be funded from within the NHS budget – a budget that is already sagging with debt.

The answer?

Wholesale privatisation and Private Finance Initiatives.

The way these complex financial instruments work is actually quite simple. To get rid of debt or to apparently reduce costs works like this;

Recently Hounslow Borough Council replaced all its ageing streetlamps with brand new, ecological and efficient LED Lamps and it didn’t cost us a penny.

Except, through the Private Finance Initiative, a private profit making company installed them in return for an agreement that the Borough would pay rent every year for a long term (usually 30 years).

During that time we taxpayers pay for the electricity and replacing lampposts ourselves while the company maintains them in return for large annual fees. There isn’t much to maintain on LED lights – the problem comes when the technology becomes outdated or when the contract ends.

The Borough never owns its own lamps any more, has lost its maintenance department and their expertise and in the meantime has paid over many, many times the value of the street lamps.

It’s a rip off.

It’s likely that the Tories unspoken plan is to cast off great swathes of the NHS to private speculators to finance their big plan.

Or rather we will be financing it by paying through the nose for the next 30 years.

It’s an election – we ought to know where the money’s coming from.

Shouldn’t we?

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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