The government have started to spread the New Economic Virus even if they don’t realise it. Forced by the power of the Coronavirus the Government has had to respond by instructing its own bank , the Bank of England to create new money ( by typing digits into its computer ) to assist individuals and businesses harmed financially by the Coronavirus. No pretending that it can’t do this, it’s doing it. No-one is asking the question ‘ how are you going to pay for it ? ‘ anymore .
Now what it needs to do is to banish from all its policies the word AUSTERITY. Austerity always was not just a bad idea , but a dangerous one . The dramatic impact of the Coronavirus on the NHS is evident for all to see . Most obvious is the shortage of beds . New temporary hospitals have had to built in days to cope with the numbers of affected people. In 1948 at the founding of the NHS there were 480,000 beds . The UK population in 1948 was 49 million. 1974 there were approximately 400,000 beds and the population was 56 million. In 1987 the number of beds was 300,000 and in 2019 127,000 . The population in 2020 is 64 million.
In 2016 a drill code-named Exercise Cygnus involving all major government departments, the NHS and local authorities was undertaken . It revealed gaping holes in Britain’s Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response plan . Austerity has pared away all flexibility in the system so when the Coronavirus struck nothing was ready to go. Note the key words ‘ resilience ‘ and ‘ flexibility ‘ . That lack of resilience and flexibility is a direct result of the application of the Neoliberalism virus to the running of the NHS . Big business has been running in exactly the same way for the last thirty years in the name of ‘ Efficiency ‘ although not in its usual dictionary definition of well-organised. No, just like Finance this is Efficiency, a standalone subject, designed like Finance to be disconnected from the actual needs of the system it supposedly serves. As with Finance there are many propagators , think-tanks and consultants, ready to extol the virtues of Efficiency . Efficiency is the elimination of resilience and flexibility, or to put it another old fashioned way ‘ putting something aside for a rainy day ‘.