Working Class

A Working Class Alternative To Labour
Working Class

A Working Class Alternative To Labour
Pensions and the NHS
The enormous cost of pensions and of health care for an ageing population is a worry for the future.  It is another
reason to ask if we can afford to keep the bottom 8 million of the population in poverty, on low wages or in
unemployment, for their working lives before they are old and need expensive hip replacements and heart operations,
when they could be contributing to the coffers to pay for what is going to be necessary. Can we afford to keep 8 million
so poor that they are not paying much tax and are perhaps even a net drain on the Treasury because they are claiming
in-work benefits to get by? Can we afford to allow employers to pay so little that the wages they pay are subsidised by
the Treasury? If we are worried about the pensions and health care of the future, hadn't we better invest in British
industry and training to make sure that the bottom 8 million are earning the money to pay for it all? And hadn't we
better make sure that their wages are high enough to enable them to both live and pay tax? Alternatively we can let the
big corporations keep the money. But who is going to pay for the hip replacements? Tesco? Or the Chinese and
German companies who receive the profits in the form of investments?

Many of those living in poverty in Britain today are pensioners. The problem facing any government is: how can the
country afford to pay our pensioners what we would like to? We cannot eradicate poverty unless we make sure that  
pensioners without company pensions get more than they are getting, so that they can afford enough food and heating,
and have something left over for leisure, and to live reasonably comfortably. While raising the revenue (£74bn Source:
Dept. of Works and Pensions) to pay 7 million pensioners their £144 per week may be a headache to any government,
it is not really a national economic problem, except that the elderly are unable to make much of a contribution any
more to the nation's wealth (they have already done so of course). It isn't all that much of a problem since, being poor
many of them, they spend the money they get almost immediately on food, and heating. So the money goes straight
back into the economy (i.e. not to imports). This only becomes a problem if the huge corporations who own all the
retail food outlets then take the money and invest it abroad, thereby sending all that money out of the country; out of
the country to fund foreign industries to make the grandchildren of the pensioners unemployed so that they can't earn
the money to pay for their own pensions and those of their parents and grandparents. It also matters if British energy
companies can't offer the best deals to pensioners so that foreign companies get their accounts and the money leaves the
country that way. It becomes easier to raise pensions when the haemorrhage of money from the country is stopped. A
working class government would have to have a commitment to increasing pensions enough to eradicate poverty in that
age group. Saving on the £60bn in-work benefits, putting 8 million further above the tax threshold who are currently
on low pay, and investing in British manufacture so that we are making what we need and not absorbing
unemployment benefit, are ways to raise money for better pensions without increased taxation rates.

All parties like to pledge and promise about the NHS but a nation that doesn't pay its own way cannot in the long run
give itself a high standard of health care .

If we don’t take these measures, if we don’t get rid of the low wage economy, the future for the NHS, as well as for
the nation as a whole, looks bleak in the long term. As we get poorer and become the low wage packers and assemblers
of foreign goods, as we slowly become in effect similar to a third world country, we will naturally be less able to afford
the level of health care we have come to expect. Because of the huge budget deficit, currently £75-80bn, coupled with a
£1200bn debt, this could be just around the corner; there will simply not be the money to pay for the NHS as it is
today, and as the population gets poorer and less healthy, the burden upon a less well funded health service will
eventually be overwhelming. We ought to be worried about the future of the health service. The danger does not come
from politicians, but from our own refusal to face the hard facts about paying our own way. No-one is going to pay for
our health service for us - we as a country have to earn the money to pay for it.

What sort of country is most likely to be able to afford a health service? One that has a low paid population of
assembly line workers and service industry wage slaves, who go shopping in Poundland, living on imports they can
scarcely afford,  and a high budget deficit and sky high national debt? Or a country of highly paid skilled workers who
manufacture what they need, or export more than they import, have a therefore trade surplus, and low levels of debt?
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