Caroline Lucas, the Green party’s only MP, will present a bill to parliament which aims to reverse large parts of the last government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012.
The private members bill, named the NHS Reinstatement Bill, has received cross-party support, including the backing of Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh and the SNP’s health spokesperson Philippa Whitford.
The bill would reinstate the secretary of state’s responsibility for the health of UK citizens, something the Health and Social Care Act removed.
It would also abolish bodies such as NHS trusts, NHS foundation trusts and clinical commissioning groups, allowing commercial companies to provide services only if they were essential to patient welfare and the NHS could not do so itself.
A private member’s bill can be introduced by any member of parliament or peer who is not a government minister, but few of them actually pass in to law because they are given little parliamentary time.
In March this year, Lucas tabled a similar bill that had to be dropped when parliament was dissolved before the general election.
Labour MPs Cat Smith, Michael Meacher, Rob Marris, Kelvin Hopkins, John McDonnell and Roger Godsiff have supported the bill, but Lucas called for the whole Labour party and its leadership candidates to follow Corbyn in “standing up for our NHS” and backing it.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has made nearly £120,000 in just five months from “rip-off” helplines, the Daily Mirror has reported today .
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, is facing mounting pressure to explain why his department is raking in thousands of pounds from some of Britain’s poorest citizens.
The Daily Mirror reports that the DWP makes 0.3p from every phone call they receive to its 0845 helplines. This money is used to help fund other helplines.
Labour MP Roger Godsiff has discovered that Iain Duncan Smith’s department made £117,000 from callers “hammered by unnecessary phone call costs” in just five months.
Mr Godsiff told the Daily Mirror:
“People are being hammered by unnecessary phone call costs. This is all part of IDS’s relentless pursuit of reducing the benefits bill – irrespective of the devastating impact on people’s lives.”
David Hickson from the Fair Telecoms Campaign added:
“The continuing use of expensive numbers by Government and businesses is a rip-off.”
A spokesperson for the DWP said:
“We have negotiated a rebate from our phone line providers, generating a better deal for the taxpayer.
“We make no money from call charges and this rebate does not mean extra charges for claimants.”
Source – Welfare News Service, 15 Sept 2014