Nothing is really free in life

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Labour spends lavishly on full page newspaper adverts promoting their ‘Free’ NHS, TV licence and bus passes (10/4/15). Nothing is ‘free’! In 1997 Labour famously promised not to raise Personal Taxes: they doubled their 10% base rate income tax (designed to help the poor) and raised National Insurance on poor workers by 10% to ‘save the (free) NHS’; yet they abhor funding through Health Insurance! Our ‘Free’ NHS costs the average tax-payer £3,700 p/a from income tax, NI and employer’s NI on workers. NHS funding is due to rise, yet today Labour promises not to raise taxes... Do Leopards change their spots?

Rate-payers subsidise ‘Free’ bus passes. Labour wants to re-nationalise our bus industry, returning to its costly psuedo-nationalised National Bus Company regional cartel of 1969 which crushed local private operators and then demanded rate-payer subsidies for those ‘unprofitable’ services run efficiently by those private operators! The Tories dutifully deregulated the bus and rail industry to meet EU competition rules, but their legislation still required unprofitable, but essential, local bus services to be subsidised by rate-payers.

So how will it differ under Labour? Will rate-payers now fund a Labour-run bus company, or subsidise a profit-making private bus company? And why did Labour cut local bus services, fail to introduce John Prescott’s promised ‘Integrated Transport Policy’ and fail to repeal deregulation when last in office? Rate- and tax-payers deserve to know.

Labour and its spin-doctors may excel at impressive words and fanciful promises - but they never answer the simplest of questions. Caveat Emptor!

Barry M Jones

Bixley Lane, Beckley