Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Nothing to offer

The last four years has seen government devoid of ideas, we have seen cuts to essential public services and further marketisation of society.

The architect of public sector reform Oliver Letwin has made it quite clear the direction of the governments policy, that discipline and fear was the prescribed medicine, this means schools and hospitals closing driven by markets, this would not happen by accident, Letwin says that some of those running schools and hospitals would not survive the process and that it was an "inevitable and intended" consequence of government policy. This is why the Health and Social care Act was passed to introduce competition law into the NHS, allowing private profit and making cooperation and collaboration harder.

As Letwin says "If you have diversity of provision and personal choice and power, some providers will be better and some worse. Inevitably, some will not, whether it's because they can't attract the patient or the pupil, for example, or because they can't get results and hence can't get paid. Some will not survive. It is an inevitable and intended consequence of what we are talking about."

To translate for you, if your local Academy school has a falling intake of students and closes (this maybe just down to low birth rate in your local area), then tough this is an inevitable and intended outcome to government policy and your child can travel to another school outside your town..

Likewise the government sees that it is important to add more flexibility into private sector jobs, with the growth of zero hours contracts, part time working. This government has made it harder to fight unfair dismissal, this obviously is the much needed fear and discipline to make us more productive.

Yet despite years of this fear and discipline the UK productivity is low, in fact still below the 2007/08 rates and about a fifth less per hour of our competitor nations.

One sector that has not received the fear and discipline is the banking sector, the sector that created the economic crash and the same institutions that received hundreds of billions of pounds to keep them afloat, yet has failed to release finance to allow business to invest in their businesses.

Those who has most have the most have received tax cuts on their income, this is based on a government who believe in trickle down economics, yet we see that the average families are £1600 a year worse off in this parliament, now the architect of discipline and fear, is leading conservative thinking on taxation, Oliver Letwin is now arguing for flat taxes. This simply put is one level % of tax everyone should pay, we know the Chancellor Osbourne likes flat taxes, again this would benefit those with the most in our society and those who already enjoyed a tax cut.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies calculates that in order to raise current tax revenue, a flat tax on income would have to be set at 31%. People earning between £10,000 and £41,865 a year currently pay 20% in income tax. At the other end of the scale, it would mean a significant tax cut for top earners, who currently pay 45% tax on earnings over £150,000 a year.

This is why the cutting of public is spending by this government is important to them, under cover of austerity and deficit reduction is the restructuring of public services and spending, this will in turn will lead to lower taxation with the leading lights of the conservative party now arguing for flat taxes, this is regressive benefitting the most wealthy at the cost to ordinary families.

The Conservatives believe in crude blunt instruments to support the most wealthy in society.

This Conservative government has not restructured the banking system, not rebalanced the energy market, not rebalanced the housing market, not tackled the lack of productivity within our economy, or made childcare costs more affordable, we have a government that shrugs its shoulders and argues about ill defined problems, research and independent facts are not friends to this government.

We have ten months until the election, surely government has to be more about tackling the fundamental issues that affect our society, shrugging shoulders and talking about myths are not enough, it is time for change.


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Why we need good public services

To quote Led Zepplin ' it's been a long time' since I blogged, I went on holiday and then broke my collarbone, in a bicycle accident.
I learned something from this accident;-
That I'm not so young as I was, bones don't mend quite as quick as they did.
Secondly, how important it is to wear a bicycle helmet, even on short rides, something I did not do, so  I conclude I'm a lucky man I landed on my shoulder!
Thirdly, how good public sector workers are, the ambulance was there to patch me up within minutes, then the care at our local community hospital, just one note here, the nurse couldn't order a chest        X-Ray, but could if I had gone to Frome, seriously odd. I then was transported by ambulance to Yeovil hospital where I was taken to the crash unit, seemed a little over the top, I think they thought I'd punctured my lung, the staff were amazing.
I'm now starting physiotherapy, so with a fair wind back to work in two weeks.
Surely this is the strength of good public funded services, no one could predict I was going to fly over my handle bars and need medical help, the care I received in financial terms must of cost a tidy sum, but a publicly funded health service was there, I was treated as a patient not what my insurance covered me for.
This is what makes the NHS so important, I work and happily pay my taxes and for this when I need health care it was there for me, surely this is a fair deal, having said that I hope I don't need it again, breaking bones is just too painful.
Oh yes and public servants need to be paid well, my gratitude is measured in gold!