News stories that endorse our position on key issues – Bedroom Tax, Immigration, NHS privatisation

Observer: http://www.guardian.co.UK/society/2013/mar/30/bedroom-tax-disaster-housing-chief

Bedroom tax will be costly disaster, says housing chief

Cost-cutting policy will push up benefit bill, cause social disruption and create widespread misery, say critics.

Key paragraphs:

“Research by the NHF says that while there are currently 180,000 households that are “underoccupying two-bedroom homes”, there are far fewer smaller properties in the social housing sector available to move into. Last year only 85,000 one-bedroom homes became available. The federation has calculated that if all those available places were taken up by people moving as a result of the “bedroom tax”, the remaining 95,000 households would be faced with the choice of staying put and taking a cut in income, or renting a home in the private sector.”

“If all 95,000 moved into the private sector, it says the cost of housing benefit would increase by £143m, and by millions more if others among the remaining 480,000 affected chose to rent privately.”

Observer: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/mar/30/eu-cameron-xenophobia-immigration

EU warns Cameron over ‘knee-jerk xenophobia’

Employment commissioner condemns prime minister’s speech

Key paragraphs:

“Responding to Cameron’s speech last week in which he pledged to restrict access to housing benefits and the NHS for those coming to the UK under EU free-movement rules, the European commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion, László Andor, told the Observer that his claims were misleading and very unfortunate.”

“”There is a serious risk of pandering to knee-jerk xenophobia,” he said. “Blaming poor people or migrants for hardships at the time of economic crisis is not entirely unknown, but it is not intelligent politics in my view.”

“”I think it would be more responsible to confront mistaken perceptions about immigration from other EU countries and so-called ‘benefit tourism’, and instead to explain the facts.”

“”The reality is that migrants from other EU countries are very beneficial to the UK’s economy, notably because they help to address skills shortages and pay more tax and social security contributions per head, and get fewer benefits, than UK workers; that free movement of workers is a key part of the EU’s single market; that hundreds of thousands of UK nationals work in other EU countries.””

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/farewell-to-the-nhs-19482013-a-dear-and-trusted-friend-finally-murdered-by-tory-ideologues-8555503.html

Farewell to the NHS, 1948-2013: a dear and trusted friend finally murdered by Tory ideologues

This week’s ‘reforms’ of a treasured institution – by people who came to power promising not to mess with it – is yet another sickening assault on the poor by the rich

“Nothing is more gut-wrenching than watching a close friend dying in front of you. And I mean beyond close: a friend who brought you into the world, helped raise you, and was there whenever you were most desperately in need. So, spare a moment for our National Health Service. Time of death: midnight, 1st April 2013. Cause of death: murder.”

“That this will strike many as hyperbole is because the assault on the NHS is one of the most scandalously under-reported issues in modern British history.”

“A charitable explanation would be the sheer complexity of the Tory assault. The Health and Social Care Act is more than three times longer than the legislation that established the NHS in the first place. When I asked journalists adamantly opposed to the Tory plans why they had failed to adequately cover this travesty, they sheepishly responded it was too complicated: it went over their heads.”

“Cynical though it may be, that so many of those running our glorious free media are covered by private health insurance should not be ignored either.”

“From today, strategic health authorities and primary care trusts are formally abolished. Some £60bn of the NHS budget is now in the hands of clinical commissioning groups, supposedly run by GPs. This is a sham, though one which turns local doctors into human shields for the privatisers. In reality, the vast majority of GPs will keep on doing what they do already looking after patients while commissioning will be managed by private companies.”

“Its worse than that. Under the Governments Section 75 regulations even after they were revised after huge political pressure all NHS services must be put out to competitive tender unless the commissioning groups are satisfied a single provider can deliver that service. But as the British Medical Journal has asked, how can they be sure there is only one possible provider except by undertaking an expensive tender?”

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