Stephen Hepburn: Enough is enough: Let’s save the NHS

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I can’t speak highly enough of the vibrant campaigns to save our precious National Health Service and social care for the elderly and vulnerable - two of the noblest causes in our country.

What’s absolutely clear since the election left Theresa May being wheeled towards the political mortuary is people are sick to the back teeth with the Conservatives poisonous austerity.

Starving our public services, particularly the NHS and social care, of much-needed cash was always a political choice by the Tories and never an economic necessity.

Slashing the incomes and living standards of workers, whether they are in the public or private sectors, employed, self-employed or running a small business, is the self-defeating financial stupidity of the Conservative mad house when leaving people with less money to spend damages the economy.

May’s weak and wobbly leadership threatens even more pain and despair instead of hope and answers to serious challenges when a weak Government divorced from reality prioritises its own political survival ahead of the survival of the NHS and social care.

Shaking her magic money tree to find £1-billion to buy the votes of 10 Northern Ireland Unionists shows there is cash and if the Prime Minister can find it for Ulster we know she could find it for the NHS, education, fire service, police, armed forces and councils.

The people of South Tyneside and Gateshead reject overwhelmingly the Conservatives and back real change in the national interest.

I see no tonic for the NHS under May’s watch but I do see the pain the Secretary of State for Health is inflicting in our part of the country and I hold him responsible. He sets the health budgets and dictates the cuts.

If our local health services were properly funded and Labour was in power, we wouldn’t have the threat of much-used services at South Tyneside Hospital being shut and shifted to Sunderland.

To add insult to injury I find it appalling that what I fear is a sham consultation process began yesterday on the 5th of July, the 69th anniversary of the birth of the NHS by Labour in 1948.

I’m 100% behind the patients, trade unionists, local politicians and community activists who make up the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign.

Over a week ago a crowded meeting in Jarrow’s Alberta Social Club showed the spirit of defiance of the Jarrow Marchers is alive and kicking and we’ll keep on fighting.

We’ve decided enough is enough and after the Conservatives shut the much-used and now much-missed Jarrow Walk-In Centre we’re not going to let them get away with yet another act of mindless health vandalism.

So I urge everyone on South Tyneside to get behind our campaign by attending the public meetings across the borough and Sunderland so you can tell Hunt’s puppet masters what you think about their unwanted proposals.

And just look at the crisis in social care. South Tyneside council’s budget was cut 40% by the Tories, Gateshead’s 45%. They’re performing miracles but the Conservatives stole funds for services.

I and Labour want a fairer, decent Britain in which everybody is valued and nobody’s left behind.

A country in which we all pay in to public services then we all use them. A society in which everybody contributes according to their means and is cared for according to their needs.

I genuinely believe only Labour is capable of delivering social justice and economic prosperity for the many not the few.

Let’s Save our NHS and win the political fight of our lives.