In Steve Double’s column in last weeks St Austell Voice of the 12th February, he has included information on funding for the NHS. He says ‘by the end of the Parliament the NHS will receive an additional £33.9 billion every year. This amounts to an additional £651 million per week’
This Government is increasing funding for the NHS by 3.1%, it is fantastic to see an increase, but this will not fill the gap left by ten years of underfunding by this Government. It’s not a record breaking increase unless you measure it against previous Conservative years in Government. The historic average yearly increase for the NHS Is 3.7% per year.
The NHS is short of 100,000 staff, care is being rationed, we've got the worst ever performance in A&E, corridor nurses, growing waiting lists, half of all NHS trusts are in debt including the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, and we still have no social care white paper, that incidentally we were told by Johnson was oven ready.
The NHS and social care are in crisis, and things would be even worse if it wasn’t for the amazing NHS staff.
The £33.9 billion Mr Double is quoting is actually a spending increase in real terms of £20.5 billion, but we won’t get that amount until 2023/24. Expert think tanks are clear this will not be enough to address future issues in the NHS.
But to come back to Mr Double’s figures what does that mean year by year rather than giving us a figure five years hence?
The NHS budget is currently £119 billion for 2019/20 rising to £122 billion in 2020/21. So the NHS is getting a £3 billion increase in April 2020. That makes It closer to £57 million a week not quite the £651 million Mr Double is saying we will get per week, and nearly £300 million less than Mr Johnson promised us on his bus.
It’s not good enough to mislead the public over what this government is giving the NHS, by using figures that are not costed for inflation and are five years hence. Do better Mr Double.
Steve Double has surpassed himself and scored a nasty own goal. He was on the cover of St Austell Voice talking about ‘ridding the town of this blight’ talking about people who are homeless in St Austell.
There’s been a rise in the number of people who are homeless in this country in the last ten years and one of the main reasons is universal credit. The current system makes people wait five weeks before they can receive any help and penalises and sanctions them too. Universal credit has forced people into being homeless. It was introduced by the Conservative Party and Mr Double has voted every time for it.
A third of children in St Austell and Newquay are now officially living in poverty. Many are likely to be the homeless people of the future.
It’s not just universal credit and the way it is applied it’s also cuts to drug and alcohol treatment services; it’s cuts to drug prevention programmes; it’s cuts to public health; it’s cuts to schools budgets (over £20 million in Cornwall); it’s underfunding the NHS; it’s cuts to police and probation budgets, a loss of 21,000 police staff, all on the Conservatives watch.
All these cuts have been introduced, voted for and overseen by Mr Double and his party. This is what has caused the rise in the number of people who are in dire straits.
Let’s help people back on their feet when they hit hard times, so they don’t need to be living on the streets. Other countries, towns and cities have done it.
I don’t hold people who are homeless to blame for their plight I blame this Conservative government and Mr Double. Austerity has been a political choice and it’s not over. Meanwhile MPs get a pay rise and huge companies making millions in profits pay little or no tax. These Conservative policies are a blight on us, not people who have fallen on hard times.
I’d also like to see the Voice celebrate the kindness and care a homeless man gave someone who collapsed in St Austell, by printing that news on their front page next week, not this awful unkindness and vilification.
This blog will be created by members of the Exec committee on topics of interest to the St Austell & Newquay Labour Party