Former Conservative Health Secretary Andrew Lansley left his post in disgrace after his unpopular moves to sell of large swathes of the NHS. But his new role advising private healthcare firms means he is now able to profit from his own privatisations.
Lansley’s major legislative change while in office, was The Health & Social Care Act 2012. It came into force in April 2013, ending the democratic and legal underpinning of the National Health Service. The key provisions of the act mean that:
- For the first time since the inception of the NHS, the Secretary of State for Health is no longer be responsible for the National Health Service.
- The strategic centres of the NHS, such as Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Healthcare Trusts, would be dismantled. This effectively denationalised the service, removing the economies of scale and guarantees of standardised service regardless of where you live in the country.
- Up to 49% of beds in any NHS hospital can be handed over to private providers.
Lord Owen, former Labour Foreign Secretary and Liberal leader put it perfectly when he said:
“The Act breaks up the universal system that has served us for over sixty years, and reduces the NHS to a stream of taxpayer funds and a logo for the use of a range of public and corporate providers of services.”
Lansley was later ousted, and the implementation of the Act was overseen by Jeremy Hunt.
But it would appear the former Health Secretary has been allowed to have the last laugh. Not only has Lansley been made a peer, but he has been taken on by management consultancy firm Bain & Company to advise private healthcare providers how to benefit from exactly the deals he made possible. Not only this, but his own wife has set up a ‘strategic communications consultancy’ which will advise on health and social care, for which he will an active associate.
The NHS is being carved up into McDonald’s style franchises between the likes of Circle, Serco, Virgin Health and other private providers – and the former Cabinet Minister responsible will now make personal financial benefit from those decisions.
This one case is bad enough, but Lansley joins a host of MPs enjoying such privilege.
On becoming Chancellor in 2010, George Osborne quickly ‘flipped’ his first and second homes to claim over £100k of taxpayer money for interest payments on a mortgage for his £455k Cheshire pad. He later sold the home for over £1m having made improvements partly funded by taxes. He also claimed taxpayer money to cover payments on a horse paddock for the property.
When Osborne undersold the Royal Mail for less than half its value, meaning investors could buy the stock at knock down prices and sell it on almost immediately at a profit, one of the chief beneficiaries was his Peter Davies (the Best Man at Osborne’s wedding)– who made £18m in a few short days.
Iain Duncan Smith
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith lives rent free in a £2m country estate owned by his aristocratic father in law. Whilst claiming he could live happily on the £53 a week some unemployed job seekers receive, he has claimed £39 on expenses for his breakfast.
In the Betsy Gate scandal of 2001, it was revealed that the tax payer was paying £15,000 a year for Duncan-Smith’s wife to become his ‘diary secretary’. There is ample evidence that Betsy didn’t perform any such role worthy of the salary, which was hardly likely to register in the bank accounts of the daughter of the moneyed 5th Baron Cottesloe of Swanbourne and Harwick.
Home Secretary Theresa May’s husband is a director/shareholder in G4S. May has faced several conflict of interest allegations during her tenure. One of the worst was the case of G4S winning a £200m contract to run Lincolnshire police operations. G4S had recruited law firm White and Cade to support their bid. In a stunning coincidence, May invited Tom Winsor, a lawyer from the same firm, to conduct ‘an independent review of police reform’ in the run up to the bid – giving the lawyer access to privy information and contacts.
They’re All in it Together
And don’t think New Labour were any different either.
- After leading the war in Iraq, creating billions in business for JP Morgan bank – Tony Blair became a Senior Advisor for JP Morgan.
- After opening up much of the nation’s law, policing and justice services to private security companies such as G4S while Home Secretary – former Labour MP John Reid became a Group Consultant for…G4S.
We have a political system which helps those who help themselves to public money. Corporations and Cabinet members are in cahoots to asset strip the state – the schools, the hospitals, the libraries, the community centres, the playgrounds, the parks, the housing, even the roads and bridges. They want to commercialise the whole lot – all those things that we built and paid for as a nation, they want to sell for their own profit. We build it, we pay for it, they sell it to their mates at knock down prices and rent it back to us at exorbitant rates. This is an unsustainable model, and it behoves all of us to bring it to and end.