Local MSP Margaret Burgess has warned that funding-cuts to the health service in England could impact on Scotland’s NHS if we choose to stay in the British Union at next month’s referendum.
Although the health service in Scotland is already independent and is managed by the SNP Scottish Government, cuts to the budget of the English NHS, resulting from a UK Government drive to privatise the service, will ultimately result in knock-on reductions in funding made available to Scotland. Known as ‘Barnett consequentials’, any reduction in UK Government spending in England produces an automatic reduction to the block grant that currently funds Scottish Government spending.
Margaret Burgess told the3towns.today, “Only a YES vote will protect Scotland’s NHS from the consequences of UK cuts and privatisation south of the border.
“The future of our NHS has become central to the referendum debate. We’ve had a distinct Scottish NHS from the day and hour the service was set up, but there is absolutely no doubt that decisions made in Westminster on further NHS cuts and privatisation will have a serious effect on the funding of our NHS and other vital services in Scotland.”
The MSP for Cunninghame South pointed-out that in England Labour Party leaders are warning voters that the survival of the NHS is at stake. However, Mrs Burgess said that in Scotland, “The same Labour Party is telling voters there is no problem having our NHS funding in the hands of the Tories at Westminster.
"Labour in England is shouting from the rooftops about NHS privatisation, more financial charges for patients and the risk of the NHS being broken-up, but in Scotland the ‘No’ campaign wants to hide these threats.”
The SNP MSP argues it is inevitable that Westminster’s privatisation will affect the funding of Scotland’s NHS, saying, “No privatisation was ever designed to put additional public money into a service.”
Mrs Burgess who is also the SNP Government Minister for Housing and Welfare said, “With a YES vote and independence, we can halt the threat posed by Westminster privatisation. A Yes vote is the best way to protect Scotland’s NHS – only then will we have the cast-iron protection that our health service needs.
“With that YES vote, we can give our NHS a constitutional guarantee and ensure that it remains a fully public service, free at the point of use.”