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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 February 2014

Them and us

M&S-style austerity

Former Marks and Spencer chief executive Sir Stuart Rose has been appointed an adviser to the NHS. The Tory press sang hymns of praise to Rose's 'big business expertise'.

The press were quieter about Rose's current job as chair of private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital. This company owns at least three private health businesses in Britain including one of the private care giants Care UK.

One of Britain's biggest private health companies, Care UK was paid 190 million a year from public money to treat NHS patients in 2012.

Its profits soared up to 38 million in 2010 while its staff pay dropped by an average 1%.

In 2010, Rose was one of a gaggle of big business types to write a public letter congratulating Cameron's Tories on their plans "to institute widespread cuts in public services and state benefits."

It's not just austerity and privatisation, of course, it's M&S-style austerity and privatisation. But it's bad news for the NHS and we must fight his plans.

Meltdown

The number of NHS Foundation Trusts in England facing financial meltdown has almost doubled from 21 to 39 over the last year according to Monitor, the regulatory authority which guards against 'anti-competitive' practices.

Two-thirds of NHS hospitals in England are Foundation Trusts (FTs). Established by Labour, FTs aren't directly accountable to the health department and 'compete' with one another for income. They can enter joint ventures with commercial companies and raise commercial loans.

Under the Tories' Health and Social Care Act the cap on FTs income from private patients was lifted from 5% to 49%, raising the suspicion that NHS patients will go to the back of the queue.

Without foundation

Five disabled social housing tenants have lost their Court of Appeal case to have the iniquitous 'bedroom tax' ruled unlawful.

Lord Dyson ruled that the court could only intervene if the government's cut in housing benefit for such tenants "were manifestly without reasonable foundation".

Solicitors representing the five are baffled by the judgement as these disabled adults' position is indistinguishable from that of disabled children who cannot share a room, who are now exempt from the bedroom tax. The group is considering an appeal.

No caps

While capping the payment of benefits to low-income households, the government is opposed to caps on bankers' bonuses.

Consequently they have argued against the EU 'limiting' bonuses to a mere 100% (or 200% if agreed by shareholders) of salaries.

But fear not for the hard-pressed 'masters of the universe', the big high street banks have rallied to their cause by suggesting additional share payments so that no fat cat is worse off.

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Coronavirus crisis - 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 government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

In The Socialist 26 February 2014:


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