Zarah Sultana nails what’s wrong with a billionaire’s ‘generous’ £10m gift to the NHS

Zarah Sultana
Tracy Keeling

The billionaire Duke of Westminster is donating £10m to the NHS, charities, and medical research amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. NHS Charities Together, which will receive £5m to set up a ‘family fund’ for NHS workers, naturally said it was grateful for the “generous donation”. But Labour MP Zarah Sultana put a whole new and important spin on the duke’s gift.

The equivalent of…

As the Guardian reported, Hugh Grosvenor has “an estimated £10bn fortune”, making him one of the richest people in the UK. Upon announcing the donation, the Westminster Foundation – which handles his charitable giving – released a quote from Grosvenor:

 

In it, the billionaire said he wanted to “say a huge thank you to all our amazing NHS staff and everyone providing critical frontline services”. He continued:

As they keep us safe, I want to help provide as much support to them and their families as we can.

But Grosvenor’s net worth suggests that £10m isn’t actually ‘as much’ as he or his foundation could afford. Sultana noted:

So while £10m sounds like a lot of money, in terms of Grosvenor’s worth, it’s actually a fairly small percentage. Meanwhile, the Labour MP suggests that ‘taxing the super-rich’ would be a better way to fund the NHS.

When did the NHS become a charity?

Grosvenor isn’t the only person donating to the NHS during the pandemic. Tom Moore, a 99-year-old man, has been doing 25-metre laps around his garden to raise money for the health service. He’s raised over £14m for it so far.

But Sultana argues that we shouldn’t “rely on charity” to fund the health service. Indeed, many are wondering when the NHS actually became a charity, rather than a fully-funded public service:

Of course, it isn’t a charity. But successive Conservative-led governments have so severely degraded it through underfunding, damaging reorganisations, and forcefully opening it up to private companies, that it’s a shadow of its former self.

Remember the four-year-old child lying on the floor of an overcrowded A&E in December 2019?

Remember Boris Johnson’s reaction to it? Instead of addressing the role he and his party had played in the travesty of the child’s situation, the PM grabbed the phone of the journalist who confronted him with the picture and stuffed it in his pocket. Out of sight, out of mind.

Little has changed since then, apart from government ministers coming up with slogans and gimmicks about the NHS. That’s apparent in the continued lack of personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers.

No wonder the NHS is becoming reliant on donations to get it through this crisis. That’s what successive Conservative governments have reduced it to.

Featured image via Double Down News/YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. So we can tell the old boy who raised 12 Million that his donation isn’t needed either? More pathetic drivel from a nobody MP who, much like that idiot Pidcock, will be out of a job come the next election.
      Miss Keeling, have a word with yourself. Someone gives the NHS a sizeable donation to help and all you can do is bring out your envy politics. The British public are fed up with it. It’s been rejected comprehensively at the last 2 elections and needs to be relegated to the dustbin along with the left’s AS.

    2. Crikey off again it’s a great pity we left Corbyn down donation off the rich is gift but the real world we the peasants pay our taxes it’s enough to keep us afloat but not to give big tax breaks to these companies who can’t pay their taxes has for the last two elections it was wasted by those who couldn’t bite down on their vote to leave that alone lost labour their goal stammer the spammer got his way

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