Wednesday 24 September 2014

How can Labour or the Tories fight an election on the NHS?

Westminster, we have a problem it goes like this:

- Current annual deficit - £75 billion, stable and not falling due to a low rise in income taxes

- Total UK debt  - £1.225 trillion and rising rapidly

- NHS shortfall in 2014 - £2 billion

- Predicted NHS Shortfall by 2020 - £30 billion.

- Total Government spend 2014 - predicted £636.6 billion versus £720 billion spending (OBR)

In addition, Mr Milliband yesterday said that he would save our NHS , budget this year £108 billion, from the evil Tories.

And, worse than this, Mr Balls and Mr Osborne are agreed that by 2018/19 the deficit will be eliminated and therefore in real terms we need to have a further £50 billion of cuts over the next four years from 2015. To this we can add the £30 billion of NHS spending.

This £80 billlion is 12.5 of current spending - equivalent to the whole of education and defence spending.

There is simply no way of raising revenues from the economy anywhere near enough to cover this predicted hole in the NHS alone. This is before we add in social care and sweets for all that parties must promise to get elected.

The entire 2015 election according to Labour will be fought on non-economic criteria as they are so far behind on this. But the truth is, even the Tories do not want to fight on the real economic criteria becuase they too know there is no answer apart from drastic cuts to spening. Let's say, end housing benefit and tax credits, plus raise top rate of income tax and a mansion tax, with capital gains at 40%  - this would just about get you to the point where the hole would be filled.

There is a solution of course, end the NHS as it is, focus on people's basic needs and grow and insurance industry out of the nascent one that we have. Make people realise the true cost of care.

To me the NHS, wonderful that it is in so many ways, is the epitomy of the magic money tree theory - worse because we and our loved ones are all mortal in the end. As we have it, it is totally unsustainable without in short order sacrificing much of the national resources into it - but people may vote for that anyway, unaware of the reality for which they are voting.


Bobby said...

It's telling that the selling point of the speech is "more money for the NHS" rather than improved healthcare or better outcomes.

Lord Blagger said...

Total UK debt - £1.225 trillion and rising rapidly


No its not. The BORROWING is 1.45 trillion.

The DEBT is 9 trillion.

You've left off PFI, Pensions, Guarantees, Nuclear clean up ....

All debts.

Electro-Kevin said...

With the rate of mass immigration there will never be enough NHS.

The latest from Calais is the big news. The word is out in the third world "The British want you !"

Labour and Tories are two bald men fighting over a comb.

Steven_L said...

And bad news galore, retail sales, eurozone slowdown, sanctions, war etc.

We're just one bad xmas away from the can being kicked down the road again.

Yet the market seems to think bank rate will be 1% in June. That's 50 basis points to trouser as far as I'm concerned.

A Cynic Writes said...

How can Labour or the Tories fight an election on the NHS?

Because they are all liars?

john miller said...

Please can someone tell Joe Public that in 1997 the NHS budget was £47 billion and is now £121 billion.

Can they then please tell Joe why we have the highest mortality rates in the world for cancer and coronary diseases and why a 5 hour wait in A&E (if you can find one near you) is now the norm.

And this figure excludes the capital costs that have been illegally (if HMG were UK Plc) hidden off the balance sheet.

hovis said...

@ John Millar: to misquote Eisenhower - the Medical Industrial Complex

Look at the costs for things like Statins and the industry funded attempts to put practically everyone on them - NICE only looked at industry funded research.

Having worked for the large pharma co begging with "Pfz" it's interesting viewing different M.O's, the idea that the NHS is benevolent is a fairty story, from BMA, JCVI, NICE through to UNITE it's producer capture.

BE said...

Miliband's promises on the NHS amount to a 0.1% real terms rise in expenditure. Just like his minimum wage policy it is meaningless.

Ed Balls' promise on the deficit is to elimimate the deficit in current spending, i.e. anything which counts as "investment" is excluded. Peston puts that at about £30bn less of cuts than Osborne's promise.

Miliband apparently hates image-based politics so much that he would rather be criticised for forgetting to talk about deficit reduction in his pre-election conference speech, than to be criticised for using a lecturn and notes.

I pray for a barnstorming Tory conference, but am hedging my bets by looking at jobs overseas.

CityUnslicker said...

BE - my point is that both sides are not known owners of accurate calculators.

The mainstream media laughed at the SNP fantasies of independent Scotland.

All the main parties in the UK are operating in a worse zone.

At Stephen L points out, the macro news is starting to go South, the chances of a recession next year are high, before 2019 gauranteed, so the deficit and net debts are going to get worse, much worse on the current policy trajectory.

there is little difference between Labour and Tory economic policies anyway - neither have any.

BE said...

I was not disagreeing. And I agree with SL that the macro numbers are bad. Is this nonsense about raising rates some kind of play to keep UK households borrowing and spending? Sort of a reverse Peston?

All I am saying is that Miliband and Balls aren't even promising make cuts.

Jer said...

Labour are still referring to current spending as "investment".

hovis said...

BE - I know you are much less pessmistic than I, but even a barnstorming tory conference would only mean more Tories who dither and not deliver ..

Hedging is always a good idea.

BE said...

Yes Hovis, another Camborne term will be very frustrating, but not nearly as scary as the roller-coaster ride which the Eds will take us on. Think Hollande but more useless, more convinced of his intellectual superiority. Look how ready the markets were to ditch Britain on the eve of the Scottish vote. The pound will be at dollar parity before EdM's term is out.

CityUnslicker said...

dollar parity, I like the sound of that!

Budgie said...

Our local hospital is no bigger than it was 30 years ago. It's lost some departments to another (PFI) hospital that looks close on paper, but can be nearly an hour away in the rush two hours morning and evening.

Opposite was a factory which made widgets, now probably imported from China. The factory has been converted to offices for the bloated NHS management. Says it all really.

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