Sunday, 31 March 2013

Press release
Sunday 31st March 2013

Burnham: Labour will repeal Cameron's NHS market

- Hundreds of new NHS bodies have not been properly established, leaving NHS at "maximum risk" according to NHS chief.
- From Monday, NHS open to full-blown commercialisation
- Doctors required to put all contracts out to tender and hospitals able to earn up to 49% of income treating private patients
- Doctors not empowered or engaged by changes
-New figures from Labour reveal a third of laid-off managers, 2200, have been re-employed in the new structure.

Labour today warns that the NHS has been placed on a "fast-track to fragmentation and privatisation".

David Cameron's NHS re-organisation comes into force on Monday, after a long and bruising battle with NHS staff and patients.

However, a new survey by Labour on the Government's re-organisation of the NHS reveals that there is already evidence of increased privatisation, conflicts of interest and a growing postcode lottery.

GP commissioners are being forced to open up all contracts to 'Any Qualified Provider' and already 396 community services across England have been privatised.

Labour's NHS Check report reveals that the NHS has spent £3.45 billion on the re-organisation. Over £1 billion has been spent on redundancy payments and new figures from Labour reveal a third of laid-off managers, 2200, have been re-employed in the new structure.

In addition, hundreds of the new NHS bodies have missed the 1 April 2013 deadline for authorisation. David Nicholson, the Chief Executive of NHS England, has conceded that the NHS is now at "maximum risk".

On Monday, Labour will commit to repeal David Cameron's Health and Social Care Act and the market system it foists on the NHS.

Labour would maintain the NHS bodies created by the Act to prevent the upheaval of another re-organisation. But it makes a clear commitment to restore the legal framework of a universal, collaborative health service.

Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, launching Labour’s NHS Check report on the dangerous flaws in the re-organisation, said:

"David Cameron has placed the National Health Service on a fast-track to fragmentation and privatisation.

"He has siphoned over £3 billion out of the front-line and blown it on a back-office re-organisation that no-one wanted and for which nobody voted.

"The British public have never given him permission to put the NHS up for sale.

"Thousands of managers have received six-figure pay-offs while thousands of nurses have been given their P45s. Nothing more clearly illustrates a Government with its priorities wrong.

"Far from letting ‘doctors decide’, Ministers are forcing the medical profession to open up all NHS services to the market. Hundreds of new private companies now risk fragmenting patient care when more integration is needed.

“With today’s changes, David Cameron has put profits before patients in the NHS. Doctors will not be in control, but required to offer up the NHS to the lowest bidder. That’s why Labour will repeal the Government’s free market and put the right values back at the heart of the NHS.”


Press release
Sunday 31st March 2013
***EMBARGOED UNTIL 0001 Hrs, Monday 01 April 2013***

96,041 into 3,688 won’t go – councils unprepared for impact of David Cameron’s Bedroom Tax

Councils will be unable to help 19 out of 20 families hit by the Bedroom Tax, new figures have revealed.

Labour Party FoI requests to 37 local authorities show 96,041 families will be hit by the Bedroom Tax which comes into force today.

But the figures show there are only 3,688 one and two-bedroom council properties available for families who wanted to move to avoid the tax.

The Bedroom Tax means that tenants in social housing will have their Housing Benefit reduced by 14 per cent if they have one spare bedroom, and 25 per cent if they have two or more spare bedrooms.

But this new information proves that there are not enough smaller properties for affected families to move to, even if they are willing to do so.

For the 37 councils that provided full data, 96,041 families are expected to be affected by the Bedroom Tax, but just 3,688 one- and two-bedroom properties are available – just 3.8 per cent of the homes required to rehouse the families who are hit

Another 26 councils who responded to the FOI request said that they expected a total of 45,669 families to be affected, but were unable to say how many smaller properties were available in their area.

Local authorities from all over the country, and in both urban and rural areas, are badly affected. For example:
  • In Birmingham, 13,557 households are affected by the Bedroom tax, but just 368 one- and two-bedroom properties are currently unoccupied
  • In South Lanarkshire, 5,461 households are affected, but just 245 one- and two-bedroom properties are currently unoccupied
  • In Doncaster, 3,853 households are affected, but just 92 one- and two-bedroom properties are currently unoccupied
  • In Cardiff, 3,951 households are affected, but just 115 one- and two-bedroom properties are currently unoccupied
  • In Wandsworth, 2,005 households are affected, but just 10 one- and two-bedroom properties are currently unoccupied
  • In Wiltshire, there are no unoccupied one-and two-bedroom properties at all, for 2,953 affected households

Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:

“These shocking new figures reveal the big lie behind this Government's cruel bedroom tax. They say it’s not a tax but 96 per cent of people hit by the tax have nowhere to move to.

“In the same week that millionaires get a huge tax cut, hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people will be hit by a vicious tax they can't escape.

“This wicked bedroom tax is going to rip neighbour from neighbour, force vulnerable people to food banks and loan sharks, and end up costing Britain more than it saves as tenants are forced to go homeless or move into the expensive private rented sector. It is the worst possible blend of cruelty and incompetence. The Government must think again and drop this tax now.”
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Local AuthorityNumber of households affected by the Bedroom TaxNumber of unoccupied one- and two-bedroom council properties available
Argyll and Bute826unknown
Central Bedfordshire154831
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar300unknown
East Ayrshire3100189
Kensington and Chelsea1103unknown
Milton Keynes2104101
North Ayrshire264530
North East Licolnshire180055
Perth and Kinross75979
Scottish Border1120unknown
South Lanarkshire5461245
South Tyneside2961124
Telford and Wrekin2611unknown
West Berks772unknown
West Lothian2400unknown
Windsor and Maidenhead383unknown
Total (for those providing full data)96,0413,688
* Hull’s information provided by Hull City Council in a letter to Diana Johnson MP – not as a response to Labour’s FOI request