It’s worth pointing out that NHS workers haven’t had a pay rise since 2009. Their pay has been frozen for the last five years. When inflation is taken into account, what this means in real terms is that nurses, midwives and other health professionals working in the public sector have had their pay cut every year for the last five years.
Today they went out on strike to demand the 1% pay rise that their independent pay review body said they were entitled to, but the government decided to reject that recommendation.
Inflation in the UK is currently running at 1.5%. Which means that a 1% pay rise is still, effectively, a pay cut. These health care workers aren’t even demanding a pay rise, they’re simply asking for less of a pay cut.
Yet the government insists that this is unaffordable and will lead to thousands of job losses. Let’s forget, for a moment, that the NHS would simply cease to function if they laid off that amount of staff, so the threat of job losses is an empty threat. At their conference recently David Cameron announced a package of tax cuts that would cost somewhere in the region of £8 billion. Giving the NHS workers their 1% pay rise would cost £200 million. How dare they say that a pay rise for essential health care workers that would cost £200 million is unaffordable while promising tax cuts costing £8 billion?
Today the government also announced its intention to sell off its stake in Eurostar. Coincidentally it believes that the sell off will make £200 million. They say that this will be used to pay off the national debt. The UK national debt currently stands at just under £1.5 trillion. This is akin to taking a few DVDs to Cash Converters and saying that you’re going to use the money to help pay off your mortgage. Eurostar is actually a profitable company, making £50 million a year. The UK government owns 40% of Eurostar, which means that it generates £20 million for the treasury a year. But, hey, why keep public ownership of a service that generates £20 million for the public purse a year, therefore making in a decade what you’d receive for it if you sold it off, when you can sell it off, make a quick buck, and then have that £20 million a year go to
your rich friends in the city the private sector instead?
This government is fundamentally corrupt and the sooner we get rid of it the better.