UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

NHS Devolution - another Trojan Horse?

Greater Manchester is to take control of the region’s Health and Social Care spending. Yesterday George Osborne announced that from 2016 Greater Manchester’s combined authorities will take responsibility for the entire £6 billion health and social care budget. The deal is being hailed by council leaders across Greater Manchester but Andy Burnham is urging caution and warns that the proposals could lead to a break up of the NHS and an inconsistency across the country in the provision of health and social care.
     This is a massive change to the way health care is funded in England and the proposals need to be critically analyised to see if the argument that it will improve health outcomes for the people in Greater Manchester really do add up.

The Soldier and the Snow by Miguel Hernandez

December has frozen its double-edged breath
and blows it down from the icy heavens,  
like a dry fire coming apart in threads,  
like a huge ruin that topples on soldiers.  

Snow where horses have left their hoof-marks  
is a solitude of grief that gallops on.  
Snow like split fingernails, or claws badly worn,  
like a malice out of heaven or a final contempt.  

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Poison chalice or golden opportunity? What will a devolved NHS be?

The announcement of devolved NHS funding to Greater Manchester authorities is surprising on many fronts not least because the shadow Labour health secretary lives in the patch, Labour council leaders have signed up to this and seemingly colluded with the Tories to take the wind out of the sails of Labour’s main election campaign strategy on the NHS. It is either breathtakingly naive or a tacit admission the Tories will remain in power come May and they have decided to do a smash and grab for funds now. Either way it’s a remarkably disloyal approach and incredibly stupid.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Austerity job losses - bad for all but worse for some

In order to divert attention from the public sector jobs carnage caused by its austerity policies, the Conservative Party claims that ‘there are now two million more private sector jobs than there were in 2010’. A useful briefing by the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) examines Tory claims that that cuts to public sector employment facilitate private sector job creation and help to ‘rebalance’ the UK’s economy. It finds that ‘since 2008 job cuts in the public sector have fallen disproportionately on the regions and devolved nations outside of London. As a result of this, London and the South East have increased their share of public sector jobs as a proportion of the national total. Interestingly, however, London has also been the region with the fastest rate of private sector job growth in this period’

Monday, 23 February 2015

Punching above our weight

UNISON was the UK's top political donor in the fourth quarter of 2014! Electoral Commission data published last week confirms that a total of £1,384,289 was donated to the Labour Party from our affiliated political fund. The timing reflecting UNISON's determination to securing a change of government in the upcoming general election. With just over one third of UNISON members paying a political fund contribution to Labour (substantially fewer than Unite and GMB) this level of support to the Labour Party is unparalleled.