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Here’s why a DECENT NHS pay rise will help us all

Paying NHS staff more money will improve the UK’s economy massively.

That’s the educated opinion of Tax Research UK’s Richard Murphy, and who are we to argue with him?

In his latest video clip, Mr Murphy explains that the Tory government’s decision to offer only a derisory one per cent pay increase – less than the rate of inflation – is actually harmful to its own hope of economic recovery.

The Tories have based their offer on a false belief that the NHS does not contribute to the economy. This is easily disproved because a person who is fit and healthy is clearly more able to create profit than somebody who is ill or injured.

The benefit to the economy provided by the NHS has actually been measured and it seems that for every £1 invested in the health service, the economy benefits by between £2 and £4.

That’s a hell of a markup!

Think about it. Most supermarkets operate on the basis of profits between – what – five and 15 per cent, if I recall correctly. This is a profit of up to four HUNDRED per cent.

In a nation that badly needs to re-establish its economy after Covid-19 – not to mention Brexit – that’s not to be sniffed at, but sniffing at it is exactly what Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and the other Tories are doing.

At the moment there are 80,000 staff vacancies in the health service because the wages aren’t enough to compensate for the long hours, stress and heartbreak involved.

This, along with the ongoing effects of Covid-19, means that patients aren’t getting the treatment – even the routine work – they need and there is a knock-on effect for the economy because they are being prevented from getting back into it and producing the content of work they should be able to provide at the standard they are expected to.

“It’s as much as we can give,” said Boris Johnson. But this is sheer short-sightedness. A five per cent pay rise, as suggested by Mr Murphy, would pay for itself as the benefits spread through the economy.

This Writer is left wondering whether Johnson is deliberately sabotaging the health service in order to make privatisation more acceptable; if it can’t recruit staff, then perhaps it should be handed over to private firms.

The trouble with that is, private firms won’t pay any better because they’ll be busily grubbing for profits for their shareholders.

And they won’t provide the service the NHS offers because most people simply won’t be able to afford their prices.

So the economy will suffer a much greater downturn as increasing numbers of people fall into illnesses from which they simply won’t be able to get up.

It is economic idiocy.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Mr Murphy:

One part of the clip that I don’t understand is where he says the NHS is perceived to be free. It isn’t and never has been.

Originally, the cost of the service was said to be paid by National Insurance. Nowadays I think that is not true – or certainly not as true as in the past. Much of the cost is now said to come from general taxation (although we know that tax doesn’t actually work like that; the money taken back by the government is more correctly said to be recycled into use to pay for the NHS).

Either way, the NHS is at least partially supported with payments from the general public. It isn’t free and never has been.

Isn’t it funny how that disappears from the minds of politicians whenever it becomes convenient?

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Why is useless HMRC getting a 13 per cent pay rise while brilliant NHS get only one per cent?

It was revealed over the weekend that staff at HM Revenue and Customs are to receive a 13 per cent pay rise. We already know NHS staff will get only one per cent.

Some commentators have insisted that we should not begrudge tax inspectors their pay rise but I am not one of them, because I have recent experience of their work.

I file my tax returns online, you see.

When I did it this year, the automatic system demanded that I pay half the amount again, as a down-payment on next year’s taxes – but I declined on the basis that the Covid crisis has hit my income to the point where I’m unlikely to hit the threshold for paying income tax at all.

The response was that this would be considered and I would be contacted later.

I had that contact last week. After I fished it out of my email system’s spam folder, it instructed me to visit the HMRC element of the gov.uk website.

This meant I had to provide a numerical code and a password, which I did.

Then I was told a further six-digit passcode had been transmitted to my mobile phone, and I had to look it up and input that as well.

Then I was told I would be asked further questions on two of three subjects (the choice being mine). One of them was a non-starter because it didn’t apply to me, and the first of the other two required me to provide “0” as an answer, which HMRC’s website doesn’t allow.

So I could not retrieve my message. I’ve informed HMRC and am awaiting its response. This may take some time.

All I want to do is pay my taxes and the system is holding me up. For this, HMRC staff will receive a 13 per cent pay increase over the next three years.

If I go to my local doctor with a health problem, I can be assured of instant attention. If the problem turns out to be serious, that attention may involve being ambulanced to hospital for the immediate attention of specialists in their field. For this, NHS staff will receive only a one per cent pay increase.

You can appreciate my reasons for begrudging HMRC staff their increase, I hope.

Source: 13% pay rise for HMRC changes debate on NHS dispute, Maajid Nawaz insists – LBC

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Is Starmer right to oppose tax rises on businesses and wealth?

Labour leader Keir Starmer seems to have provoked another attack on his tattered left-wing credentials, after he opposed plans to levy taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals who have made a fortune from the Covid-19 pandemic, when Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces his spring Budget.

But is he right?

On corporation taxes, it seems he isn’t. Here’s Tax Research UK’s Richard Murphy, speaking last year but applying his words to this year too:

Okay, but how about wealth taxes?

The argument on taxing businesses is clear – it would discourage them from taking on (or retaining) staff at a time when we need people to keep their jobs, and it would take money out of the economy.

But wealth is kept in (very large) bank accounts and is not attached to employment.

So why not tax the people who have made (or increased) fortunes from the suffering of the rest of us?

At the very least, it might blunt the (fake) Tory argument that we all need to pay back the cost of the Covid crisis (that they’ve already paid anyway, by creating money).

This Writer would therefore tend to support it – but I’m ready to be corrected if you have a better argument.

Starmer’s alternative to taxing the rich is – as perhaps we should have expected – a neoliberal nightmare: he wants ordinary people to give any money we’ve managed to save during the Covid crisis to a new national investment bank. Why should we? If we back businesses, who would get the profit? And what if those businesses failed?

No Holding Back, a campaign group of socialist MPs, has said that Starmer seems to have his priorities wrong and Labour “needs a partnership with society, paid for by taxation,” not a “partnership with business, paid for by society”.

So it’s looking bad for Starmer.

But the outlook for the nation is looking worse. With no direction from either main political party, it seems the UK is drifting into economic shipwreck.

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#CashNotClaps say protesters as Tory call to applaud NHS is ignored

Boris Johnson has the clap: but his show of appreciation for NHS staff never went any further than a photo opportunity outside 10 Downing Street.

The Tory relaunch of ‘Clap for Heroes’ has fallen flat, with streets quiet at 8pm yesterday while residents took to the internet to demand fair pay for National Health Service workers instead.

This Writer never took part in the weekly ritual, that ran for 10 weeks during the first lockdown last year. I knew it was nothing but a sop for struggling doctors, nurses and support workers who were being forced to work long hours on very low pay after 10 years of Tory underfunding.

I knew that clapping doesn’t help. In fact, it may undermine the NHS by giving working the sense that we think putting our hands together on our doorsteps once a week is somehow a reasonable substitute for a well-resourced and capable health service with a decent standard of living for its staff.

Boris Johnson knows the NHS is struggling, but his government refused to provide a reasonable pay rise to NHS workers last year. Instead he splurged billions of pounds on fake companies run by spoilt friends of his ministers or Tory donors, who then failed to provide the equipment they had been contracted to make or find.

His demand for you to stand on your doorstep in the cold and clap your hands like a performing seal is an appeal for complicity. By clapping, you agree with him that the NHS doesn’t need decent pay.

No wonder so many people didn’t bother.

It is far better to tweet, email, and write to our MPs, demanding that they provide a decent living wage – not just to the NHS but to all frontline, key and essential workers.

That’s why I support comments like these.

What are you going to do?

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Board members of UK’s biggest finance firms have had nearly 80% pay rise since 2009

Nice work if you can get it!

And, indeed, if you think it actually qualifies as work.

Board members on the UK’s largest financial companies have enjoyed an average pay rise of 79 per cent since 2009.

This means that during the decade of austerity, while you were probably facing a pay freeze – meaning a real-terms drop in income, median pay for the three highest earning non-executive directors (NEDs) in each of the FTSE 100’s 17 financial firms surged from £90,700 in 2009 to £162,000 in 2019.

They received this for attending – just attending, not necessarily contributing to – an average of 26 meetings a year.

The largest increases have been at Lloyds Banking Group, where top NEDs are earning 257% more than in 2009; the London Stock Exchange Group, where there has been a 219% rise; and investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown, where fees have jumped 170%.

Remember, these firms don’t actually contribute anything to our lives – they don’t make anything, and such services as they do supply are highly exclusive.

They make money by betting on whether other businesses will do well or badly. That’s what investment is, after all – a wager that providing money to those firms now will bring a profitable return later.

It’s a game for the very rich.

And it depends on keeping the people who do the actual work very poor.

Payroll is always the largest cost to any firm so, if they are to provide an expected return to investors from firms like Lloyds Banking Group, the London Stock Exchange Group, Hargreaves Lansdown, Phoenix, Barclays, Prudential, Aviva, Admira, RSA, NatWest and so on, businesses have to keep pay low.

So these 79 per cent pay increases for finance firms arise from their board members attaching themselves to you like leeches and sucking out all the benefits that you should be enjoying.

Remember that as you endure the hardships you’ll be asked to face in 2021.

Source: UK’s biggest financial firms have given boards near-80% pay rise since 2009 | Business | The Guardian

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All Windrush victims to get at least £10,000 – including those who’ve died or been wrongly deported?

The Empire Windrush brought many people to the UK to help rebuild the country after World War II. As I never tire of pointing out, if it had still been in service a couple of years ago, the Tories would have been trying to use it to deport them all again.

People are reacting to this announcement with scepticism – and who can blame them?

Here’s what the government has said:

The government is to give more money to victims of the Windrush scandal, which saw hundreds of people wrongly threatened with deportation.

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that the minimum payment will rise from £250 to £10,000, and the maximum from £10,000 to £100,000.

The figure will be higher still in “exceptional” circumstances, with money coming through quicker than before.

In the analysis inset by Westminster Hour‘s Jack Fenwick, though, he said

One person [told] me they won’t believe it until a cheque is in the post.

Who can blame them?

The big scandal of the Windrush compensation scheme so far is that people have died before receiving compensation. Did their descendants get the cash? That would have been reasonable, in the circumstances. Taking it back would not.

And what about people who were wrongly deported. Has the Home Office made any effort to contact them, apologise, and ask them to come back? Many of Priti Patel’s deportation victims have suffered terrible ill-treatment since deportation, so that is a can of worms that needs to be opened.

So it’s a nice announcement. But we need to action, not just pretty words.

Source: All Windrush victims to get at least £10,000 – BBC News

Don’t be fooled by Johnson’s pose on MPs’ pay rise. Why didn’t he oppose it sooner?

Isn’t it curious that Boris Johnson has taken so many weeks to come out in opposition to the planned basic-rate pay rise of £3,300 for MPs?

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority announced in October that MPs could be entitled to the rise, starting next April.

Johnson said nothing at the time. If he genuinely believed that it was not appropriate for MPs to have the extra cash, at a time when the rest of us have been forced to tighten our collective belts due to the Covid crisis and his government’s calamitous response, he would have mentioned it then.

By a curious… coincidence?… the time period between that October announcement and now is roughly the length of time one would expect a focus group to report back to Johnson on whether such a pay rise was likely to affect his popularity.

Is that the real reason for his sudden piety?

It isn’t that long since we were all being told he was complaining about being poorly paid.

We all know Johnson is two-faced; I wouldn’t place much value on the face he’s showing us now.

Source: Boris Johnson against MPs’ pay rise, says No 10 – BBC News

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Sunak gets the collection bowl out – and the cosh. But why should we pay?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak wants us to cough up the money he, Boris Johnson and their government have wasted on crony companies that have done nothing – and in some cases weren’t even real (we’re told).

According to the Office of Budget (Ir)Responsibility, by the end of the financial year in March 2021, Johnson is likely to have spent £316.4 billion more than was spent in the previous 12 months.

Not all of it was wasted, even This Writer has to admit. But much of it was – and Sunak is now suggesting that the general public should stump up the cost – even though we’re the ones who have felt the brunt of the harm caused by Covid-19.

And remember, Brexit is likely to take between one and two per cent off the UK economy from January:

And the BBC report states that Sunak

old the Sunday Times people would soon see “the scale of the economic shock laid bare” , indicating taxes might have to start rising next year and there could be spending cuts.

Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies agreed:

Why should we pay a single red cent to cover Sunak’s – and Johnson’s – mistakes?

One of the Tories’ selling-points – on which they stake their reputations and their chances at every election – is that they are the party of financial responsibility. They fool people into voting for them on this premise and then immediately betray those people by throwing money away stupidly.

That is what has happened after every election over the last 10 years, in spite of what David Cameron and George Osborne said about the need for austerity, and in spite of what Johnson and Sunak are saying now.

If you want to get a grip on the scale of Tory waste, visit My Little Crony – the app that shows exactly how the Tories have been siphoning off public funds and giving them to their friends – ostensibly for work to tackle Covid-19 but actually with very little result.

We have very little to do with the way governments spend our money.

We vote according to their promises in election manifestos but, once they’re in office, we can’t force them to honour their promises – and when a crisis like Covid-19 comes along, we have to bow to the inevitability that something had to be done and it had to be funded.

(Was Covid-19 unforeseen, though? Johnson knew about it in November last year – before the election. Why didn’t he mention it?)

Worse, we have no leverage to force a government to keep its spending under control – which would then remove the need for extra taxation. We cannot legally withhold the extra money if the government increases taxes – indeed, we face heavy penalties if we try.

But governments do have alternatives.

There is no laissez-faire in economics. Public demand for goods, services and other commodities changes all the time and it is a matter of good government to anticipate the changes and prepare for them.

So, for example, if a government wanted to divest itself of carbon-fuelled energy and invest in the green economy, in response to public demand and environmental pressures, it might launch a long-term strategy that would involve heavy investment immediately, to be paid off over a long period of time in the future – with no extra burden on the taxpayer. The cash borrowed to carry out the work would be paid down over future decades as the benefits made themselves felt.

This does not work for investments in defence, which carry no immediately-apparent economic benefits beyond the obvious one of a nation remaining free from invasion by its opponents. This is one reason Boris Johnson’s determination to increase defence funding by 10 per cent, at a time of economic trauma to the UK, is confusing.

Sunak doesn’t need to raise taxes. The UK’s borrowing level will decrease – hopefully after the anticipated Covid vaccines arrive. He can impose measures to ensure the costs will be paid off.

He can also make an effort to recoup the cash he wasted on crony companies (although it seems doubtful that he will; the whole point of the exercise seems to have been handing out free money to Tory pals). If he doesn’t, then he’ll be hard-pressed to persuade any of us to part with our cash.

Many of us have lost our jobs. We have lost relatives to the disease because the Tories failed – perhaps deliberately – to contain it. We are poorer and we are demoralised by our government’s lack of ability to get to grips with even the simplest tasks that have been put before it.

And now Sunak wants us to pay up because he can’t do his job properly. What do you think of that?

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#Whitty and #Vallance TV briefing shows incompetent Tories failed to contain #Covid19UK while causing maximum public inconvenience

[Image tweeted by The Brexit Comic.]

There’s no way around it: Boris Johnson and his gang of Tory nincompoops have really cocked up the Covid-19 crisis.

That’s the message This Writer took from the televised briefing by chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance.

Here’s a summary of what they said, courtesy of that great critic of the Johnson government, Piers Morgan:

Those are the points I got from it too – and here’s my conclusion:

That’s right:

Here’s the rest of what I took from the briefing:

So what can we all expect in the future from Johnson?

More of the same.

He may impose more restrictions on our freedoms but he won’t tell us not to go to work again, because making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

His policies will be intended to keep hospital admissions within treatable levels – to prevent Covid-19 from overwhelming the UK’s doctors and nurses – as it always has been. But they won’t be about reducing levels of infection to zero because he has never been interested in that. Making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

Johnson may even try to justify his refusal to impose measures that would eradicate the disease by saying the effect on the economy would cause even more harm to public health. As I tweeted, that’s a political decision – he could legislate to ensure that any such harm is prevented. But he won’t, because making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

And that means many more people are going to die – your relatives and friends, perhaps. Maybe even you. Because making money for Johnson’s friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

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Covid-19 latest: it’s rising uncontrollably across the UK


Here’s the bad news:

Incidentally, that was at 1.46pm. Here’s the situation at 5.59pm:

That’s right – in four hourse, 23 more schools were revealed to have Covid-19 outbreaks.

The BBC reported 3,497 new cases today (September 12).

Boris Johnson and his government have nothing to say.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook