Monday, 7 May 2012

Welsh Labour's £290 million NHS cuts

Now that the council elections are over, the level of cuts planned by Welsh Labour begins to be revealed. During the elections, the First Minister was adamant that there were no cuts to the NHS in Wales, repeated by Welsh trade union officials ranting against cuts in England. And, while nobody seems to be using the word 'cuts', it appears NHS boards have to meet 'tough savings targets' of £290 million in the coming year and an average of 5% a year for the next 3 years.

This annual saving of the best part of £300 million is roughly the amount that Welsh Labour says is stolen from Wales through the Barnett Formula funding mechanism. Socialist Party members have consistently demanded that the Assembly set a 'needs budget' and mobilise trade unionists and working class people around a campaign for the return of this money, urgently needed for services in Wales.

This demand needs to be linked to the fight to overturn Welsh Labour's NHS cuts, inscribed on the TUSC banner in Wales and taken into the unions representing health workers. Saving NHS services is too important to allow the link between the leadership of the likes of UNISON Cymru and Welsh Labour to derail it. Fail to defeat these cuts and the NHS in Wales will look very different in 3 years' time. But health workers and users of NHS services will have no choice but to fight and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has an important role to play in that struggle.


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