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September 26, 2014 / politicsbitesize

Good News for NHS Funding

UKUncutNHSIn his speech to the Labour Party conference on Tuesday, Ed Miliband outlined his six point plan for Britain, which included restoring a sense of social mobility of all, reinstating the prospects of home ownership for all, tackling the cost of living crisis, low wages and a lack of jobs, and, ambitiously, saving the NHS.

He has promised that if Labour win next May’s general election they will increase NHS funding by £1.7bn per year. The NHS is currently facing a £30bn black hole and, according to the BBC, ran up a £500m deficit in the first few months of this year. If our precious institution is to survive then more funding to plug the huge gap is urgently needed.

But how will a Labour government raise the capital needed to save the NHS? Miliband announced that Labour would clamp down on £1.1bn of tax avoidance and plough the proceeds of the proposed ‘mansion tax’ back into exhausted NHS coffers. UK Uncut have presented another revenue stream that the Labour Party could pledge to tap into. On average the UK loses £95bn a year through the tax dodging practices of large corporations and the super-rich.  If accounting practices were changed and tax loop holes closed then the extra revenue raised could be invested in many public services such as education, health and social care.

On top of Miliband’s proposal to inject extra funding into the NHS, the Labour leader has also promised that his party would repeal the Health & Social Care Act. However, his party will need to also pledge to prevent the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal from gaining traction if they are going to be able to stop the tide of privatisation from engulfing the NHS.

Hiding in the TTIP agreement is the diabolical Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism that threatens to allow multinational companies to sue individual countries directly for loss of profits that were due to public policy decisions such as renationalising a public institution. So, private companies who, under the Coalition Government, have already been awarded a tender to provide services for the NHS could potentially sue a future Labour government for not renewing their contracts.

Will Ed Miliband stand up against TTIP in order to save the NHS? Or is his message about saving the NHS an empty election pledge? Either way work still needs to be done to prevent the deal going through, and the World Development Movement (WDM) is campaigning hard against this threat to democracy, public services and the environment. Please add your voice to challenge the corporate trade agenda.

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