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Dateline  Newcastle upon Tyne - Monday 24th July, 2017 09:28

HOW MUCH MONEY DO WE NEED?


by Tim Jones, 23rd June, 2017

There is no shortage of money. There really isn't. You and I may not see much of it, but banks, institutions , and countries don't hesitate to lend our government money. It's a safe bet. The government, whichever party is in charge, is not going to die, do a moonlight flit, default on repayment, or otherwise fail to deliver the goods.

The government relies on taxpayers to keep the whole charade going, and there's new ones being born every minute.

So why does the government sell us the line that we are broke? It tells us that there is no money for anything, except certain vanity projects and MPs salary increases. We all have to tighten our belts, make sure that chap up the road who is on the dole doesn't cheat, and that the window cleaner pays tax.

It is, of course, a big fat lie.

NHS Deficit

Stafford HospitalStafford Hospital - Patients wait on trolleys
In February 2017 the NHS Trusts reported a 3rd Quarter year end deficit of £886 million.[1] This was after all those efficiency savings. The full figure for the last twelve months was going to be released on the 25th May, but was suppressed by the government so as not to influence the election.

Doctors and nurses complain that wards are understaffed, patients are having to wait for longer than ever, and that the government's pronouncements on waiting times and funding are the result of inhaling too much laughing gas.

Let's not forget, the Tories opposed the formation of the Health Service in 1948. So, what's changed? The NHS shortfall must be a whopping figure, or the government would not be hiding it still. Those in the know think the year end 12 month figure to be £750 million.[2]

Democratic Unionist Party

DUP TerroristDUP Terrorist stalks victims
The £2,000 million of our money[3] Maybot is thinking of giving away to bribe the Irish DUP to shore up her threadbare minority in the House of Commons would retro-fit fire sprinklers to every tower block in the UK three times over. That's over 2½ times the NHS shortage for last year. She can find that in a twinkling, whilst patients languish or even die on trolleys, waiting for treatment from doctors and nurses stretched to breaking point.

The arrogance and hypocrisy of the woman knows no bounds. Murdoch and Dacre trumpet the shocking behaviour of Jeremy Corbyn seeking openly to bring peace to Northern Ireland in troubled times, whist remaining silent on the threat to our national security represented by flooding Irish bigots and terrorists with more cash than all the lottery wins for two years added together.

Crossrail

Crossrail TrainNew trains for Crossrail
Relieving Londoners' travel misery by Crossrail, Phase 1, will cost £14,700 million.[4] When it is finished in 2019, 1.5 million more people will be able to travel to central London within 45 minutes. Commuters landing at London Airport will be whisked towards Paddington, Baker Street and Liverpool Street for onward travel at a fraction of the cost of the current Heathrow Express. What's not to like about that?

It is the largest infrastructure civil engineering project in Europe. 21 km (13mi) of new tunnels run under the capital, but more of the total 100km (62.14mi) of lines are above ground.

Not only will travellers benefit from the excavations, but also the tunnellers turned up many new archaeological discoveries. Historical digs went on in parallel to the tunnels. Much evidence of Roman occupation in the capital was recorded at Liverpool Street for example.

Second High Speed Railway

HS2 MapWhere the new lines are planned
The official total cost for HS2, as set out in the 2015 spending review, was £55,700 million, which, according to the government, is value for money. However, we all know these things overrun in time and spending. The real cost to us is likely to be much more.

When it is finished, the new fast trains will shave 35 minutes off the travel time from Birmingham to London, The non-stop trips will attract midlands people to commute to London, so increasing the load on the capital. The government says it will encourage firms to relocate from the expensive London area, but I think the opposite will happen.

The recent report by quantity surveyor, Michael Byng, commissioned by Network Rail, said that the overspend so far was £30,000 million.[5] Some of this figure could be reduced by taking the allocation for Phase 2 to spend on Phase 1, leaving nothing for the proposed line to Crewe, Sheffield and beyond. Lord Berkeley has said that taking Byng's figures along with the various assumptions made by the Department for Transport, the likely final cost will be over £100,000 million.

Trident

Trident SubmarineTrident Submarines patrol the oceans
Replacing Trident is going to cost in the region of £205,000 million.[6] Whatever you might think about these four nuclear powered submarines, carrying rocket powered atom bombs capable of destroying half of the world, the government has made the decision to go ahead.

The old subs are reaching the end of their useful life so new ones need to be built, including up to date weapon systems on board and ashore. Refurbishment was rejected as being too short term as well as requiring a reduction of security protection if subs were to be taken out of service for sprucing up. Furthermore, the Americans don't want to be in charge of an obsolete system.

Mrs. May has stated that the nuclear threat has increased and it would be reckless to abandon Britain's nuclear programme. By renewing Trident we will stimulate the economy with jobs as well as keeping expertise in the country. Even those in opposition to the renewal programme have to agree with NATO in that it would be foolish for the UK to disarm without international agreements in place.

Compare amounts

Cost ChartCompare the money being spent
The chart on the right shows the relative amounts we are talking about. All the woes in the NHS, all those problems caused by Jeremy Hunt's intransigence, could be wiped out at a stroke. If the DUP money were spent on the Health Service today we would have a bountiful surplus to pay for more doctors and nurses.

No one doubts that we will reap benefits from Crossrail, but the amount waved away at Transport Headquarters after coffee one afternoon would keep the NHS on track for a decade with no further attention.

The High Speed train line to the midlands, gobbling money faster than those future cyber conferring commuters speeding to the capital, pales into insignificance when compared to the eye watering sums being spent on making war toys to frighten the neighbours.

If you take anything away remember that chart. Remember, when the Tory mannequins strut before the cameras and microphones, telling us that there is no money for the NHS, social care, or welfare, they are trying to cover their avarice and greed with a thin veneer of our poverty; poverty they have caused in the first place.


References
[1] METRO, Richard Hartley-Parkinson - Monday 20 Feb 2017.
[2] METRO, Ashita Nagesh - Monday 22nd May, 2017.
[3] BBC News, Wales Politics - Thursday 22nd June, 2017.
[4] http://www.crossrail.co.uk/about-us/funding, last visited Friday 23rd June, 2017.
[5] Rail Technology Magazine, Monday 3rd April, 2017.
[6] The Guardian, Richard Norton-Taylor - Thursday 12th May, 2017.

Tim Jones

Tim is a mature northerner with a background in public transport, who lives in Newcastle upon Tyne.

As well as having a keen eye on the political scene, he is a photographer, with an interest in architecture and history. Tim has been active on the web since the mid 1990s, having curated the Timmonet site from its inception.

Since retiring from full time work, Tim has found time for travel, creativity, and maintaining his lifelong interest in the arts.


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