|Written by Martin Ralph, editor International Socialist League|
|Tuesday, 13 September 2011 04:00|
Following more than a year of struggle by workers and students to stop government and council cuts, the government is pressing ahead with the wholesale decimation of public services.
In the last year we have seen the beginnings of huge austerity cuts and privatisation plans for public services because that is what the banks and big business want who need wholesale change to secure their profits. Britain is being run in the interest of bankers, who refuse to be regulated to control their greedy, stupid and precarious practices which caused the crisis in the first place and who are unfit to run any of our services. One of the central demands of the bourgeoisie is for a greater re-organisation of British capitalism which will require lower wages and conditions and lead to the ending of public education, welfare, health and youth services. Only a victory of workers’ struggle can change this.
Cuts and privatization
“A survey of local authorities by the Confederation of Heads of Young People’s Services in February 2011 showed that budget cuts averaged 28%, but that some authorities were cutting 70%, 80% or even 100% of services. It found a total of more than £100 million being cut from local authority youth budgets in England by March 2012 and that the services most affected would be open-access youth clubs and centres, which 96% of the 41 heads of youth services who responded said would either be reduced or stopped altogether by April 2012.” (Public funding of youth services, www.parliament.uk) Spending on youth services was £397 million 2007-2008, by 2009-2010 it dropped to £350 million, with a further £100 million being cut.
A secret email obtained in September, through a Freedom of Information application has revealed plans to hand over up to 20 hospitals to international health companies who are looking for at least £500 million in revenues.
These secret plans are proof that Cameron intends to end the NHS and universal provision, “Private healthcare companies have been engaged in a massive lobbying effort to fundamentally change the NHS in their own interests: employing politicians (including former health ministers), hiring lobbying agencies full of government insiders, and paying think tanks close to the Conservative Party.” (www.spinwatch.org) The NHS will be in competition with any ‘willing’ provider.
The government wants to put 80% of the NHS into the hands of GPs and the new bill will demand that GPs use the cheapest providers which will allow private companies to make billions out of health care.
The majority of the population including GPs are against the dismantling of the NHS, and now the British Medical Association national council has agreed to begin campaigning against the dreadful Health and Social Care Bill.
The Government is deceiving and confusing the public by repeating the lie that there will be “no privatization of the NHS”, however the central purpose of the bill is just that and must be defeated. According to the Public Accounts Committee the privatisation schemes that were promoted by Thatcher, Blair and Brown, are increasingly being given to big business and are being run from tax havens. As with all other privatizations school buildings, education and health provision are being treated as commodities to be bought and sold on the world’s largest casino that is the international markets and through secret transactions of the big banks.
Private and Finance Initiative is a ticking time bomb and is bleeding public money for private profit. At the time of the major bank’s crises, who were bailed out by billions of public money, banks decided to increase their charges, and the cost of loans increased by 33% during 2009 which will cost the taxpayer an additional £1bn over the next 30 years.
Fight for class action
The struggle against union leaderships who are resisting taking action against the destruction of the NHS and public services has to be intensified.
The present leadership of the trade unions are against building links and building internationally except in the boardroom meetings of bureaucrats to discuss how to divert the movement. If they will not unite strikes and build an international movement of workers then a new leadership will have to take their place and begun that fight.
The political conference season is here and there are planned demonstrations against both Tory and Labour Party conferences, there are plans for strikes in October and student demonstrations in November – now is time to raise the question of preparing for a general strike.
1 Section 30 of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 allows a senior police officer to give authorisation for officers to issue dispersal orders in areas where he has reasonable grounds for believing that any members of the public have been intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed as a result of the presence of behaviour of groups of two or more person and if anti-social behaviour is a significant and persistent problem in the area.
2 Section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, gives police the right to search people in a defined area at a specific time when they believe, with good reason, that: there is the possibility of serious violence; or that a person is carrying a dangerous object or offensive weapon; or that an incident involving serious violence has taken place and a dangerous instrument or offensive weapon used in the incident is being carried in the locality. This law has to be authorised by a senior officer and is used mainly to tackle football hooliganism and gang fights.
3 Rachel Herzing http://www.irr.org. uk/2011/august/bj000015.html
4 Jon Burnett http://www.irr.org. uk/2011/august/bj000014.html
5 A Sivanandan Institute of Race Relations