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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 June 2010

NHS Scotland - ConDemned to terminal decay

Trade union response urgently needed

Two days after the coalition of Liberals and Tories came to power, health authorities across Scotland announced budget cuts of up to 5,000 jobs in the next two years.

Alan Manley, Unison Scottish Health committee, personal capacity

Across Scotland health boards are now breaking the bad news to NHS workers and service users. The new government has said the 'days of plenty' are over. An emergency budget on 22 June will continue the slaughter of the public sector 'required' to reduce a deficit that was due to the bailout of the banks and financial institutions.

Freezing vacancies will soon be joined by a pay freeze. Throughout the general election the Tories made it clear they favoured a pay freeze for all public sector workers earning over 18,000 a year. The bosses in the CBI want a two-year pay freeze. Under the mask of a national emergency, the 'new politics' of consensus between pro capitalist parties will lead to an onslaught on services and jobs.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) led government in Scotland has already set tight budgets for the NHS. The cuts package does not yet take account of the change of government, which, in essence, represents not a change of principle - because New Labour had already promised cuts - but a change of pace.

Within three weeks of finding himself in the post of deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg is now supporting the extra 6 billion of cuts he previously criticised publicly. At the same time we have the grotesque spectacle of Scottish Labour criticising SNP cuts, when a New Labour government had already cut the budget of the Scottish government.

The prospect now facing the NHS in Scotland brings the need for an organised response by trade unions and community groups into sharp focus. The current package is only for the first two years of the 'new politics', with more likely in the future.

We should launch resistance to this government at the earliest opportunity. Public rallies should be organised for the emergency budget on 22 June. Public sector unions and the TUC should call a demonstration for the autumn, when the comprehensive spending review will further twist the knife into public services.

It is high time for unity of service users and workers to oppose cuts. This will require a shift of tactics from the trade unions, who are currently effectively involved in 'social partnership' with bosses who want to cut jobs and services. We will need to organise independent action to defend jobs and services.

The trade unions should seek to defend the interests of their members, rather than worry about the impact action will have on the electoral prospects of Labour.

NHS Greater Glasgow

1,220 jobs to go in 18 months.

Half of them nursing and midwifery posts.

NHS Lothian

180 million to be 'saved' over three years.

2,000 jobs to go by April 2012.

NHS Grampian

A funding 'gap' of 34 million.

Wants to shed 560 jobs.

Looking at a voluntary severance scheme.

NHS Tayside

Expects to cut 500 jobs, about 4.5% of its workforce over the next two years.

30 million in 'savings' for 2010/11.

NHS Fife

Seeking 10 million in cuts this year.

Redevelopment of Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy may not go ahead (under the PFI contract a 120 million hospital extension will cost 630 million to repay!)

Ayrshire and Arran

Wants to reduce its workforce by up to 2%, 121 jobs.

Shelving capital projects and cutting beds.

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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.

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In The Socialist 16 June 2010:

Millionaire ministers savage public services

'Bloodbath budget' day protests and meetings


Comprehensive education under attack

Opposing 'Dickensian' academy schools in Waltham Forest

National Shop Stewards Network

Come to the NSSN conference

Unison local government conference: Delegates face huge struggles

Northern Rock throws workers on the dole

Wales Unison: Socialist Party member elected

NHS Scotland - ConDemned to terminal decay

Southampton library staff strike to save jobs

Save the Big House

Socialist Party editorial

Labour leadership contest dominated by right wing

Socialist Party news and analysis

TUSC plans for future elections

BP's value plunges as oil spill worsens

Willetts approves tuition fees hike

Bloody Sunday report appears 38 years late

IDS's 'anti-poverty drive' attacks the poorest!

High speed trains and high priced fares

Why we don't back the Queen's pay claim

Fast news

Diary dates


Tower Hamlets: Jobs, homes and services - not the racist EDL!

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: A test bed for 'austerity' and resistance

Spain: Millions of public sector workers strike over brutal cuts

Portugal: Mobilisation against austerity reaches new level

Socialist Party Scotland launched at packed and inspiring meeting


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