Super-exploitation comes to Britain

exploitationBritain, long-time home of multinationals that extract superprofits from the oppressed countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America that are largely defenceless against the monopolist vultures, is now itself witnessing them feeding off its corpus.

The Times of 22 April 2017 has two hair-raising stories about what these bloodsuckers are up to.

The first concerns the milking of the National Health Service through price rises of up to 12,500% for essential drugs. These will cost the NHS an extra £1bn over three years, while at the same time it is being forced to ration operations and other essential treatments for patients.

The Times tells us that:

“…price rises cost the NHS £262 million in 2015 but that figure rose to £368 million for 70 drugs in 2016 as increases imposed during 2015 took full effect.

“Data for prescriptions in the community compiled by the NHS shows that the health service spent an extra £69 million on two strengths of steroid tablets and £25 million for liothyronine tablets, a treatment for patients with underactive thyroids, last year…

“The figure of £368 million covers only drugs dispensed outside hospitals, which makes up about 55 per cent of the £17 billion NHS drugs bill, so the true sum attributable to price rises is likely to be higher. Detailed data for spending on drugs in hospitals is not available. The biggest increase in the cost of a drug was for hydrocortisone tablets, a steroid treatment, which has already prompted action from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

“Auden Mckenzie, now part of Actavis UK, increased the price of tablets from 70p to £88, an additional cost for 10mg and 20mg tablets of £69 million in 2016…

“Concordia, which like Auden Mckenzie has featured in the Times investigation, is the sole supplier of liothyronine 20mg tablets that cost the NHS an extra £25 million last year. The price of a tablet has risen from 16p to £9.22.

“Patients have reported being taken off the drug by doctors because of the rising cost. They have said it is a life-changing drug because they did not respond to standard medication.” (see Billy Kenber, ‘Drug companies price rises cost NHS extra £370m’).

It is already well-known that PFI contracts are licences for financiers to print money at public expense. The shocking extent of this has once more been highlighted by another Times article of 22 April entitled ‘School forced to pay £2,000 for a sink under PFI’.

In this article, its author, Nicola Woolcock, does not confine herself to mentioning the single abuse referred to in the title but goes on to detail the following:

One teacher told the Times Educational Supplement: ’We have an annual PFI bill of £132,478. We have been paying £88 [a year] for the installation of a new sink for 14 years now. With nine years left on the PFI contract, that sink will cost £2,024.”

“A blind for a room at Bristol Metropolitan Academy will end up costing £8,154 under the PFI contract. Oasis Academy Brislington, also in Bristol, will pay £2,211 for a water tap…

“The investigation found that Newman RC College, a secondary school in Oldham, was charged £48 for security guards to open the premises to allow pupils to use the lavatory before a trip. The same school had to pay more than £400 for caretakers to fit notice boards.

“Tim Gilson, head teacher at Malmesbury School, in Wiltshire, said: ‘We had some benching put in the canteen, just along one wall, about 20 yards. We have to pay about £40 a month for the facilities management cost of that bench, on top of the cost of putting that bench in and all the materials. It’s a monthly charge that continues for the length of the contract.’

“Mr Gilson said that the contract would not end for 13 years, by which time the school would have been charged £6,240 just for the management of the bench. …

“Analysis carried out last year suggested that every state school in England would have to pay more than £1 million to clear the debt owed to PFI companies that built new schools.

“Treasury figures published last year showed that taxpayers had already paid £7.5 billion in contract repayments, known as the unitary charge, for school PFIs to the end of 2014-15.”

And all this at a time when “School funding has become a big issue and schools are under pressure to make billions of pounds in savings. Under a new national funding formula about 10,000 schools face budget cuts next September, while almost all will face real-term cuts through inflation and extra staff pension costs.” Yet the PFI financiers will continue to draw blood at the expense of the education of the next generation.