“We must be all-out mobilising for the SOS NHS demonstration, which comes at a vital time for our NHS and indeed all our public services, threatened even more by Hunt and Sunak’s commitment to never-ending cuts and austerity.”Matt Willgress, Labour Assembly Against Austerity
A range of Labour left groups have come together to demand an end to the NHS Crisis, oppose privatisation and back the strikers, reports the Labour Assembly Against Austerity
A range of organisations from across Labour’s left have come together to organise a ‘Labour bloc’ on this Saturday’s SOS NHS – End the Crisis – Support the Strikes demonstration in London. Supporters of the initiative include the Labour Assembly Against Austerity, Momentum, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Labour Representation Committee, Red Labour and Labour Women Leading.
Supporting the demonstration and the bloc, John McDonnell MP said, “We must make our voices heard collectively at the SOS NHS demonstration on March 11th – bringing people together in the run-up to the Budget to fight for our NHS’ future.”
Backing the demonstration’s call to support striking workers, Diane Abbott MP also added her support, saying,”The strike movement is the biggest in a generation and one of the biggest social movements for a long time. The government provoked the strikes and have politicised them with their intransigence. But the strikers are not just fighting for decent pay and conditions and against job losses – They are fighting for us all, for properly funded and staffed public services, for progressive spending policies and against a dangerously reactionary government.”
Explaining the significance of the Labour bloc – and the left coming together to support it – Matt Willgress of the Labour Assembly Against Austerity said, “We must be all-out mobilising for the SOS NHS demonstration, which comes at a vital time for our NHS and indeed all our public services, threatened even more by Hunt and Sunak’s commitment to never-ending cuts and austerity.”
He added, “It also comes at a time when growing numbers of Labour Party members, affiliates and MPs are rejecting Shadow Health Minister Wes Streeting’s support for privatisation in the NHS, an anti-democratic stance which blatantly ignores democratically agreed party policy. In light of this, we in the Labour Assembly Against Austerity are bringing together groups across the Labour Left to host a Labour bloc on the demonstration, working together to support a fully-funded and fully-publicly owned NHS.”
Further picking up on concern across the labour and trade union movement about Labour’s front bench seeming to move away from a position of firmly opposing NHS privatisation, Momentum Co-Chair Hilary Schan said, “My mother was a nurse and midwife for nearly half a century, so I know first-hand just how hard our NHS staff work to care for us. But after thirteen years of Tory austerity and wage suppression, nurses, paramedics and doctors have been driven to the brink, forced to strike for fair pay, while a broken NHS reaches crisis point. The solution to this isn’t to double down on the failed recipe of privatisation and under-funding which brought us to this point. Instead, we need full NHS renationalisation, inflation-busting pay rises for our heroic health workers and a major investment boost.”
She added:“Momentum will never stop fighting for these policies and a Labour Party which lives up to the NHS’s founding ideals.”
Welcoming the organisation of the bloc on the demo, Holly Turner of NHS Workers Say No commented that, “The Labour Party founded our NHS now collectively, and we are in the fight of our lives to save it. Waiting lists are soaring, numbers of beds declining and tens of thousands of staff leaving in droves. We need to act now to fight for a health service with is safe and fit for all, which remains free at the point of access. The crisis in the NHS affects us all which is why we have to unite on 11th March to send a clear message to this government that we won’t allow them to rip apart the Labour Party’s greatest achievement.”
Saturday’s demonstration assembles at 12pm at the north end of Tottenham Court Road, opposed Warren Street tube station and will march to Whitehall for a closing rally with speeches outside Downing Street.
It is backed by a broad and growing coalition of campaigns, and is calling for:
- Emergency funding now
- Investment in a fully publicly owned NHS and guarantee free healthcare for future generations
- The paying of staff properly: without fair pay, staffing shortages will cost lives.
You can see full information and contact the organisers directly here.
Supporters of the ‘Labour bloc’ include the Labour Assembly Against Austerity, Momentum, CLPD, Labour Representation Committee, Red Labour and Labour Women Leading. You can RSVP, share and invite friends here.
- This article was originally published by Labour Hub on March 8th, 2023.
- Take part in the Labour Bloc at the National SOSNHS Demonstration this Saturday, March 11th. Assembling from 11.30 outside Lidl on Tottenham Court Rd.
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