ANY reputation for being prudent managers of spending that Conservative governments might have had is a myth. Comparison of expenditure in two areas trash their record.
The Test and Trace system has been a miserable failure and a Parliamentary committee has concluded that the system “has had little effect on the spread of the virus”.
Nevertheless it will be persisted with and at the end of two years expenditure is expected to reach £37bn.
By contrast a submission from ADASS (the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) to a Government inquiry points out that austerity, since 2010 caused cutbacks in local authority spending on social care to the tune of £7bn.
In consequence over that period, there has been a 70 per cent increase in the number of people with unmet needs, whilst, in the words of ADASS, “many local care markets are teetering on the edge of failure”.
Two reasons the myth of Tory competence persists are Conservative skill in “perception management” and the feebleness of much of our media in holding the Government to account.
From: Robert Holland, Cononley, Keighley.
HOW much tax is one billion? One thousand million, but impossible to comprehend. Since there are about 25 million households in England and Wales, one billion is about £40 per household.
So the Government decision to spend £15bn next year on Test and Trace to reduce Covid infections, as well as £22bn already spent, means about £1,480 of my taxes when “there is no evidence that this spending has reduced rates of Covid infection”.
This finding by the Public Accounts Committee of MPs with Tory majority shows shocking waste of our taxes on private contractors while refusing a decent wage rise to NHS staff.
If £5bn was spent on increased pay for 670,000 NHS nurses, they could have a 25 per cent pay rise. There is plenty of money in Government coffers if they want to reward NHS and social care staff adequately.
Another current notion from Boris Johnson is to consider spending approximately £20bn on a tunnel under the sea to connect Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The cost would be £800 for each household. How about spending £20bn on building decent houses to let? I would prefer my £800 on that. Wouldn’t you?
From: Michael Blissett, Beverley.
IN recent days there has been a lot of comment over the nurses’ pay rise of one per cent, both in the media and the press with at derogatory reference to the ‘triple lock’ for pensioners.
I would like to address this issue as it is seems that the ‘triple lock’ is seen by many as a ‘golden handshake’.
If we take a newly-qualified nurse’s pay at £24,214 and apply a one per cent rise, this will amount to £4.65 a week pay rise.
Now if we take a pensioner’s basic state pension of £134.25 per week (this applies to the majority of pensioners as they became pensioners long before 2016 and the pension change) and apply a 2.5 per cent pay increase that will amount to £3.34 per week; the nurse receiving 1.5 times the increase that a pensioner receives.
This is not implying that the nurses do not deserve a larger increase, they have worked so hard to protect us and help us.
But it has to be remembered that the pensioner has still to pay gas, electricity, water, food and insurance increases. It is true that the house may be paid for but it was a struggle, as is the case today to get on the housing ladder.
Since the banking crises and now Covid, there has been no return on savings but pensions have devalued in real terms. On top of this for us over 75, we now have to find another £3.02 a week from our ‘triple lock’ rise for our TV licence.
From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.
THE row over the proposed increase in nurses’ pay continues apace with many arguing that they didn’t sign in for their lives being at risk when they entered the profession (Lynda Thomas, The Yorkshire Post, March 13).
I’m sure many young men signed up for the Armed Forces not expecting to be killed or badly wounded in an illegal war in Iraq signed up for by Tony Blair. I don’t think this Government signed up for a Covid pandemic. Just saying.
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