NHS news review

Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

Hundreds of NHS leaders get Xmas ‘sack’ – Public Service

There will be a leadership vacuum in the NHS after hundreds of senior staff in Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) were sent a letter asking for their immediate resignation before 31 December, the Labour party has said.

Although the Health and Social Care Bill is still going through approval, many of the changes detailed in it have already begun to happen. That’s why heads of the PCTs, which are to be abolished, have been told they must sign and return letters of resignation by the end of the year.

The shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “Andrew Lansley looks increasingly like a man on a kamikaze mission to destabilise the NHS. Not only has he chosen the worst possible moment to re-organise the NHS, he now removes the very people who were crucial to holding things together.”

He went on: “By combining the financial challenge with the biggest-ever reorganisation, the government has created the conditions for a perfect storm that threatens to engulf the NHS in 2012. The government is steering the NHS towards the rocks and, unbelievably, is now busy throwing captain and crew overboard.

“This is no way to treat people and no way to run an NHS. It threatens to plunge the NHS into a vacuum just when it most needs experience, grip and focus. And it is arrogance in the extreme and an affront to democracy to dismantle the NHS in this way before Parliament has given its approval.

Other news:

UK Uncut vindicated? Commons report backs protest group

Allegations about tax avoidance in the highest echelons of the corporate world have been vindicated in a Commons report.

The public accounts committee (PAC) substantiated claims from UK Uncut, which campaigns against corporate tax avoidance, and suggested there are £25 billion of outstanding tax issues with big companies which Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has failed to deal with.

“This report is a damning indictment of HMRC and the way its senior officials handle tax disputes with large corporations,” PAC chair Margaret Hodge said.

“We uncovered both specific and systemic failures which must be addressed.”

The £25 billion bill alluded to in the report is bigger than the entire UK deficit in 2002 and only slightly below the £30 billion level in 2006.

The sum is equivalent to £1,000 for every British family or a cut of 6p from the basic rate of income tax.

Companies such as Vodafone have vociferously denied the figures about outstanding tax made by groups like UK Uncut, but the Commons committee used evidence from a whistleblower and a private eye to reach similar conclusions.

One deal which allegedly let Goldman Sachs off the hook for £20 million would not have been made public without the intervention of the whistleblower, MPs said.

“It is extremely disappointing that senior HMRC officials were not prepared to cooperate with our inquiry in a spirit of openness. We accept that there is a need for confidentiality to protect individual taxpayers, but this must not be used as a cloak to protect the department from scrutiny,” Ms Hodge added.

Super-rich dodge stamp duty while families pay tens of thousands | This is Money

The super-rich are costing the taxpayer up to £1billion a year by exploiting a legal loophole which allows them to avoid paying stamp duty when selling their exclusive homes – meanwhile, ordinary families are paying tens of thousands of pounds simply to move home.

The tax dodge involves transferring ownership of a property to an off-shore company so when it comes to be sold the buyer purchases the company as a whole assuming de-facto ownership of the property.

This means that while a family buying a home costing £400,000 would pay £12,000 to the Government, a multi-millionaire buying a luxury pad could pay nothing.
Tax dodge: All the homes on London’s exclusive Cornwall Terrace have been transferred into offshore companies

Tax dodge: All the homes on London’s exclusive Cornwall Terrace have been transferred into offshore companies

Because the deal is classed as a corporate transaction as opposed to a property sale there are no stamp duty obligations involved. The extent of the avoidance was revealed in a Times report.

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