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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 September 2021

NHS and social care - make the rich pay, not the workers

Striking Care UK workers outside the council's Mansion House in Doncaster, 09.08.14, photo Alistair Tice

Striking Care UK workers outside the council's Mansion House in Doncaster, 09.08.14, photo Alistair Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Social care is in crisis and needs fixing. There's no doubt about that. Over 40,000 died from Covid in care homes during the pandemic in an overwhelmingly privatised system that puts profit before safety.

Average pay for care workers is a paltry £8.50 an hour. One in four are on zero-hour contracts. With that level of pay and condition it's not surprising that there's a shortage of 170,000 care workers.

And the NHS needs much more funding. The Tory health minister himself has said that NHS waiting lists could rise to 13 million! The Health Foundation charity says it would take nearly £17 billion just to deal with the current backlog. Three times the initial £5.4 billion that the Tories are promising!

After everything they've been through in the past 18 months, health workers have been given a miserly 3% pay offer. Taking into account inflation that's actually a pay cut! NHS workers would need a 15% pay rise just to take them back to the level of 2010 when the Tories started their austerity offensive.

Once again the Tory response is to make working-class people pay the cost of a crisis not of their making. Increasing national insurance contributions will hit working people in their pockets just as food and energy prices are going up, the Universal Credit uplift is being scrapped, and workers are facing attacks on their wages and conditions through 'fire and rehire' and other onslaughts from the bosses.

This isn't about young versus old. It's about a system where the rich have got richer even during the pandemic and the rest of us are struggling. There should be no place for private profiteers in our health and social care system. Everyone should have access to free universal health and social care in an integrated system based on need not profit. It should not be based on ability to pay.

The Tories have shown during the pandemic that the money can be found. Especially when it comes to giving contracts worth billions to their big business friends in the private sector. They are the ones who should be coughing up to fund the NHS and social care, not low-paid workers.

The Trades Union Congress has calculated that if capital gains tax - the tax on profits from assets like stocks and property - was paid at the same level as income tax, that would alone generate £17 billion a year for funding health and social care.

But taxing the rich and big business should be just the start. They will do everything they can to avoid paying higher taxes that eat into their profits. We need to be able to plan the funding of health, social care, education and other services based on need not profit. That would be possible if the major companies and banks and financial institutions were publicly owned and democratically controlled by workers and service users.

That's what the Socialist Party is fighting for. Join us.

See also:

Workers shouldn't pay for health and social care plans

Fight for free, public, adult social care

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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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In The Socialist 8 September 2021:

NHS and social care

NHS and social care - make the rich pay, not the workers

Workers shouldn't pay for health and social care plans

End service cuts and care charges

Families demand rights for care home residents

Whipps Cross hospital workers reject the 3%

What we think

A pivotal moment for the trade union movement

Socialist Party news and campaigns

Socialist Party national council - members enthused by excellent in-person meeting

Why I joined the Socialist Party


Union action needed to make schools Covid safe

Fighting NEU leadership needed to tackle school funding crisis

Schools funding crisis fails vulnerable children

University bosses push through pension cuts proposal

9/11 twenty years on

9/11 and the 'War on Terror' twenty years on

Workplace news

Bexley bin workers win big gains after six-week strike

Equity protest to save arts centre forces talks from Newham Council

DWP: Demand safe working and more jobs

DHL workers to strike against wage theft

Youth Fight for Jobs

Organising to defend our future: 9 October- Youth fight for jobs day of action

Building Youth Fight for Jobs in the South West

International news

Libya - ten years after Gaddafi's overthrow

US Supreme Court refuses to challenge Texas abortion ban

Keep fascists out of Portland: Build a mass movement to fight the right

Readers' opinion

The street I live on

Socialist change, not climate change

Vigil: A nuclear sub murder mystery


Obituary: Roger Henshaw, comrade and class fighter


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