With the budget round the corner the government is leaking the more unpopular aspects so as to mitigate the damage done on the day. First they leave Northern Rock off the balance sheet, then higher fuel taxes are mooted and now today in the Metro there’s speculation that prescription charges will increase…but only for the English.
Compare this increase with a charge reduction in Scotland to £5, with prescriptions to become free in 2011. In Wales prescriptions are already free.
As a free marketeer, I don’t mind paying for a good or service. Nothing is free, after all. When the government say the NHS is ‘free at the point of delivery’, what they really mean is you don’t hand any cash over to the lady at the surgery reception desk. It's impressive double-speak, especially when you consider the Treasury has been throwing money at the NHS for the past ten years. Yet prescriptions still increase, hitting pensioners and those on fixed incomes hardest.
What I mind is paying for the service twice, once in indirect, compulsory taxation out of my, humble, pay packet and another when I go to pick up a prescription. What on earth do I pay National Insurance for if it’s not going to pay for my personal health insurance (read: NHS)? Where’s the money going, Gordon?
The next thing that irks me is the pure hypocrisy from the government in their stance on the spending disparities between England and the rest of the UK. On Wednesday the Telegraph reported a government review of the Barnett formula – a temporary measure from the 1970s that amounts to more money being spent per person in Scotland than in England – yet the change prescription charges will expose further disparities between spending arrangements in the Union.
Please contact your MP and ask them why the English taxpayer should continue to receive the brunt of this government’s nincompoop-designed spending plans.