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I was pleased and proud to be moving a motion in defence of an institution the party set up nearly 70 years ago. 

The NHS is the corner stone of our society, caring for everyone, regardless of your background, or the size of your wallet. This vital institution is under threat from our government in Westminster. Under threat of back door privatisation, under threat of chronic underfunding; and, under threat from a top down, bureaucratic reorganisation, which aims to reduce the available care for the British people. 

I welcomed the cross party support for this motion which calls on the County Council to resist the Strategic Transformation Plan initiative or, as UNITE the union has dubbed it; the Slash, Trash and Privatise initiative. Although I welcomed cross party support let us not forget it was both the Parties opposite that together passed the Health and Social Care Act, handing over 60% of the total NHS budget into private hands. This new proposal is just a continuation of the same government agenda that will see our NHS delivering less of service and, in short order, fully privatised. 

The number of vital health care services such as maternity and stroke units that are deemed 'not financially sustainable in the long term' under these proposals, truly boggle the mind. Furthermore, the closure or relocation of services outside our city boundary will only serve to put pressure on already stretched services, inside the city. 

The public consultation associated with these proposals is akin to asking the people of Exeter, whether they want to hack off an arm or a leg. Therefore, as a city council we must say clearly to the government; with no exaggeration, people will die as a result of these proposals and this, Lord Mayor, in an economy as rich as ours, is a national disgrace. 

The motion was passed unanimously but the question remains, what are the Tories doing locally to hold their party to account?

See below the motion:

“Exeter City Council notes that the Government requires 44 Footprint Areas across 
the UK to prepare NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans for their area which will:- 

i. Contribute to cuts of at least £2.5bn nationally this year, and £22bn within the next five years, to wipe out the NHS so-called financial deficit; and 

ii. achieve this by implementing ‘new models of care’ that are set out in NHS England’s 5-Year Forward View (2014). 

NHS bodies are severely limited in how they can oppose these cuts because they risk losing access to the £8bn NHS Transformation Fund. 

However, local authorities are in an excellent position to make clear their complete opposition to the programme.  

Exeter City Council therefore calls on Devon County Council to join together with other Councils and campaign groups to widely publicise the details of all proposed cuts and changes to local NHS services. 

We further call on Devon County Council to refuse to sign up to any STP, until the local proposals have been subject to a full and proper consultation.” 
Cllr Chris Musgrave

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NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans

I was pleased and proud to be moving a motion in defence of an institution the party set up nearly 70 years ago.  The NHS is the corner stone of...

Speech on Education funding to Cabinet meeting of Devon County Council  on 11th January 2017 (discussing proposal to transfer £2.22 million from the Individual Schools Budgets to the Higher Needs budget, leading to a reduction of £33 per pupil in the Age Weighted Pupil Unit)

 

As I think many here would agree, what this represents is a failure of central government to properly fund education.  It is significant that at the same time as the publication of the proposed National Funding Formula the National Audit Office predicted that by 2020 schools overall would suffer an 8% cut in funding in real terms.

When fully implemented the NFF would bring an overall gain for Devon of just 0.38%, with many schools losing out.  The small gain won’t even cover the new 0.5% apprenticeship levy.  In Exeter the NFF by itself would bring a slight overall loss.

So much hope has been placed in so-called fair funding, especially for counties like Devon significantly below the national average - £270 per pupil less than the national average.  The DfE press release states that the NFF will tackle the historical postcode lottery in school funding ensuring that every child is fairly funded according to their specific needs, claiming that this ‘sits at the heart of the government’s pledge to build a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few’.

This government has instead failed to properly fund education on a fair basis and in particular to meet the needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and it has failed Devon schools.

It is alarming that Devon is having to go against its own schools in making this transfer and that the position is unlikely to improve in the future whilst the ability to make such an adjustment is not going to be available henceforth.

Once again a Conservative government underfunds a public service and this county, like others, ends up having to suffer the consequences.

I applaud the letter-writing campaign the council is leading to get MPs to put pressure on the government.  Ultimately, though, local Conservative MPs need to vote against the government to get it to reconsider.  Will they?  I doubt it.

 

Andy Hannan, Labour County Councillor for Priory & St Leonard’s, Exeter 

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Cllr Andy Hannan's Speech on Education

Speech on Education funding to Cabinet meeting of Devon County Council  on 11th January 2017 (discussing proposal to transfer £2.22 million from the Individual Schools Budgets to the Higher Needs...

Dressed in red, Exeter Labour Women joined hundreds of people from all over Devon on Saturday, 3 December, to raise public awareness about the proposed cuts to NHS services.   Converging in long red lines from all corners of the city, our banners, leaflets and chants were viewed by festive shoppers whose faces turned from amused to alarmed as they began to realise why we were there. 

Barbara, from Exeter, stopped to listen to speakers in Bedford Square instead of buying presents for her family.  As hundreds chanted “What do we want?  NHS!  When do we want it?  Always!” and, “Say it loud, say it clear, NHS in place of fear!”  Barbara said, “I believe if we don’t stand together and we’re not vociferous the NHS will be dismantled.  Everyone is so caught up with their own lives, they don’t realise this is happening.  They read about a cut to this and a privatisation.  What’s happening across the country is a deliberate Tory ploy to defund the NHS until there’s nothing left.  In a few years time it’ll be if you can’t pay go away.”

Lucy, from rural Devon, said, “I had to be here.  I was born in the NHS.  My father was a doctor and helped to set it up.  I was raised in the NHS and I don’t want to die without it.”

James, one of the Save our Hospital Services organisers from Bideford said, “One pound in three is going to be cut from the NHS budget in Devon over the next 5 years.”  They are starting with community hospital beds but they’re not stopping there.  “County Councillors can refuse to sign off on this plan.  It’s not been legally tested, but these cuts could sit in a legal limbo for a time.  MPs can work to ensure there is proper funding for the NHS and make sure things things are thought through properly.  There are many things in the STP (Sustainability and Transformation Plan) that are quite sensible if they were properly funded and given time to be implemented.  It’s pushing them through fast and without the funds that’s the problem,” he said.

  More details of the first phase of the STP proposal here http://www.newdevonccg.nhs.uk/abo.../your-future-care/102019

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Exeter Labour Women join others to Defend our NHS

Dressed in red, Exeter Labour Women joined hundreds of people from all over Devon on Saturday, 3 December, to raise public awareness about the proposed cuts to NHS services.   Converging...

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