Former oil trader and present Tory MP for Melton, Sir Alan Duncan, says he’s “on the warpath” over the short-changing of his local branch of Age UK which is set to lose most of their government funding this year (April 8, Leicester Mercury).
Instead of calling for the restoration of fair funding for all services, Sir Alan is only angry at the Clinical Commissioning Group for carrying through the cuts. But it is the vile policies of Sir Alan and his Tory tax-dodging chums who are really to blame.
As Age UK’s 2014 “Care in Crisis” report made abundantly clear, despite rising demand, the amount spent on social care services for older people has dropped by a massive £1.2 billion (15.4%) since 2010.
The government’s ‘solution’ at the time was to transfer £438 million from the NHS budget to local authorities, which, even if every penny was spent on social care still left a shortfall of £769 million.
Unfortunately, since then the Tories have continued to erode the ability of local authorities to deliver safe public health care provision. GP surgeries are being closed left, right, and centre, while the government is callously “slashing the community pharmacy budget by £170 million” (March 30, Mercury).
This is not to mention the Tories’ abhorrent commitment to the privatisation of the NHS and their attempt to impose dangerous contracts upon 56,000 already over-worked Junior Doctors.
The public, however, can be grateful that the Junior Doctors are taking strike action valiantly in defence of public safety and the very future of the NHS.
Indeed on Saturday I was happy to be able to help local campaigning group, Leicestershire against the Cuts, organise a protest in Leicester city centre in order to demonstrate the strength of public solidarity with our doctors and their ongoing industrial action.
Placards at the demonstration, which was attended by around 100 people, read “24 Hour General Strike to Save the NHS” and “Junior Doctors and Teachers Unite and Strike”. Others signs highlighted the serial underfunding of the NHS, demanding: “Tax the 1%, Fund the NHS.”
Health minister Jeremy Hunt and the other Tory ministers and MPs were elected with the support of just 24% of those registered to vote. It is clear the Tories have no mandate for their destruction of the NHS!
This is why they can be defeated, if opposed by concrete solidarity action from the trade union movement – including from the teachers who are faced with the mass privatisation of schools, and the Tata steel workers whose jobs are threatened.
If you are interesting in building the fight-back against the Tories come to Leicestershire Against the Cuts’ next public meeting at the Secular Hall in Leicester on Monday April 18, 7pm.