Com­ment Will you be charged to be treated on the NHS?


TORY right-wingers have set out their pro­pos­als for gov­ern­ing Bri­tain. They in­clude sell­ing the BBC to the pri­vate sec­tor, charg­ing pa­tients to use the NHS and end­ing UK aid to for­eign coun­tries.

The ideas were set out in pro­posed new laws pre­sented to the House of Com­mons by a num­ber of Con­ser­va­tive back­benchers on Tues­day.

It’s ex­tremely un­likely that any of the laws will ac­tu­ally be ap­proved by Par­lia­ment. And they may only be sup­ported by a small mi­nor­ity of Tory MPs. But they do pro­vide an in­sight into the type of so­ci­ety some Con­ser­va­tive back­benchers would like to live in.

Pro­posed laws in­clude the Na­tional Health Ser­vice (Co-Fund­ing and Co-Pay­ment) Bill, backed by Christchurch Con­ser­va­tive MP Christo­pher Chope and Welling­bor­ough Con­ser­va­tive MP Peter Bone.

This would “make pro­vi­sion for co-fund­ing and for the ex­ten­sion of co-pay­ment for NHS ser­vices in Eng­land”.

Co-pay­ment is when you have to pay for NHS ser­vices. Many peo­ple al­ready have to pay to see an NHS den­tist, for ex­am­ple. But the MPs want to ex­tend this to other ser­vices.

Then there’s the Pub­lic Ser­vice Broad­cast­ers (Pri­vati­sa­tion) Bill, backed by Mr Chope, Mr Bone and Ship­ley MP Philip Davies.

This would pri­va­tise both the BBC and Chan­nel 4, which is also pub­licly owned. The three MPs are joined by Rib­ble Val­ley Con­ser­va­tive Nigel Evans, Bridg­wa­ter MP Ian Lid­del­lGrainger and Tat­ton MP Es­ther McVey in back­ing the BBC Li­cence Fee (Civil Penalty) Bill, which would “de­crim­i­nalise” the non-pay­ment of the BBC li­cence fee – ef­fec­tively mak­ing it op­tional.

The Gov­ern­ment De­part­ments (Abo­li­tion) Bill is backed by Mr Bone, Mr Davies, Mr Chope, Sit­ting­bourne & Shep­pey Con­ser­va­tive MP Gor­don Hen­der­son and St Austell and Newquay Tory MP Steve Dou­ble.

It would abol­ish the Depart­ment for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment – which in prac­tice would mean the end of UK aid to for­eign coun­tries.

The Bill would also abol­ish the Gov­ern­ment Equal­i­ties Of­fice, which is cur­rently re­spon­si­ble for equal­ity strat­egy and leg­is­la­tion across gov­ern­ment.

And it would abol­ish the Of­fice of the Sec­re­tary of State for Wales, Scot­land Of­fice and North­ern Ire­land Of­fice, which would mean those na­tions no longer had their own Sec­re­taries of State in the Cabi­net of the UK gov­ern­ment. In­stead, there would be a “Depart­ment for the Na­tions of the United King­dom”.

A Schools Bill, backed by Mr Chope, Mr Bone, Mr Davies and Cleethor­pes Con­ser­va­tive MP Martin Vick­ers, would make it eas­ier to bring back gram­mar schools by end­ing the ban on pupil se­lec­tion.

It would also “al­low schools to de­ter­mine max­i­mum class sizes”, end­ing the cur­rent max­i­mum limit of 30 pupils to a class.

Some Con­ser­va­tives also want to give us an ex­tra bank hol­i­day.

The June Bank Hol­i­day (Cre­ation) Bill, backed by Mr Bone, Mr Davies, Mr Dou­ble, Hazel Grove Con­ser­va­tive Wil­liam Wragg and Sir David Amess, Con­ser­va­tive MP for Southend West, would “make pro­vi­sion for a na­tional pub­lic hol­i­day on June 23 or the sub­se­quent week­day when June 23 falls at a week­end”. This is, of course, the date of the 2016 EU ref­er­en­dum, which the MPs clearly want to cel­e­brate. And the EU fea­tures in other pro­posed new laws too.

Mr Bone, Mr Hen­der­son, Mr Davies and Mr Chope are propos­ing what they call the Euro­pean Union (Re­turn of Con­tri­bu­tions) Bill.

This would solve the cur­rent dis­pute over how much the UK should pay the EU when Brexit takes place by re­quir­ing the Gov­ern­ment “to ob­tain, on with­drawal from the Euro­pean Union, a pay­ment from the Euro­pean Union not less than 50 per cent of the United King­dom’s net con­tri­bu­tions to that in­sti­tu­tion”.

In other words, the Gov­ern­ment would some­how have to make the EU give us £4 bil­lion as a good­bye present.

The Lo­cal Au­thor­i­ties (Re­moval of Coun­cil Tax Re­stric­tions) Bill, backed by Mr Chope, Mr Bone, Wal­sall North Con­ser­va­tive MP Ed­die Hughes and

Many peo­ple al­ready have to pay to see an NHS den­tist. But the MPs want to ex­tend this to other ser­vices

oth­ers, would al­low lo­cal coun­cils to put up coun­cil tax by more than two per cent.

At the mo­ment, they have to obey a strict limit of two per cent (and in some cases an ex­tra three per cent if they spend the money on so­cial care) or hold a ref­er­en­dum of lo­cal vot­ers – which they would be cer­tain to lose.

There are some pro­pos­als which might ac­tu­ally win sup­port from MPs across the House of Com­mons.

The Hospi­tal (Park­ing Charges and Busi­ness Rates) Bill, backed by Mr Bone, Ms McVey and oth­ers, would ban hos­pi­tals from charg­ing pa­tients and vis­i­tors for park­ing. It would also ex­empt hos­pi­tals from pay­ing busi­ness rates.

And the Health­care (Lo­cal Ac­count­abil­ity) Bill would put a stop to con­tro­ver­sial “NHS sus­tain­abil­ity and trans­for­ma­tion plans”, which in some parts of the coun­try in­volve cuts to ser­vices, un­less they were backed by lo­cal peo­ple in a ref­er­en­dum.

> One of the pro­posed ideas would see pa­tients be­ing charged to use the NHS

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