Money for the banks, cuts for the NHS

Unite organises workers in the finance sector. They’re not all ‘greedy bankers’ – in fact they earn, on average, around £15,000 a year. One of the real industrial problems they are now facing is that members of the public come into banks and abuse staff, somehow believing that they’re all greedy fat cats, and that they’re all responsible for the catastrophic recession.

At the Unite Executive Council last week, Rob McGregor, National Officer for Finance, reported on the massive job losses now taking place in the sector. He also gave us a reminder of just how much of our money has been poured into bailing out the banks (with a view to nationalising the debt and re-privatising the profit). The real City fat cats want to get back to ‘business as usual’ as soon as they can, and the Government is happy to support them. There is, of course, no trade union representation in the FSA, the agency that pretends to regulate financial services in the UK.

The public money spent on ‘capitalising’ the banks now stands at an astonishing £900 billion. This compares with only £82 billion in total spent on education – schools, colleges and universities.

Pouring this kind of money into banks has serious implications for public sector spending. The Government is pretty cagey about this, but reports are now emerging about the deep spending cuts that are planned for the NHS.

Monitor, the regulator of Foundation Trusts, has warned that NHS Trusts applying for foundation status will be required in the future to demonstrate that they can survive if their income grows by only 0.7 per cent a year from 2011-12 onwards, compared with 2.2 per cent next year. The Monitor estimate for ‘efficiency savings’ (the Government’s euphemism for cuts) stands at 4 to 4.5 per cent in 2011-12.

What does this mean? Real cuts of up to 3.8 per cent a year. The HSJ story on all this is here .

It may well be even worse than this. Sue Slipman, the Foundation Trust Network Director, says, ‘We all know it’s going to be infinitely more grim than the Monitor figures suggest’.

And Price Waterhouse Cooper – a company that knows nothing about healthcare but a good deal about money – says that Primary Care Trusts should reckon on cutting their spending by up to £6 billion between 2011-12 and 2012-13.

We have a Government that bails out banks but shows utter contempt for workers. We have a system – capitalism – that looks ever more corrupt.


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