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< Back to all posts 13 April 2023

Austerity caused doctors to strike

This week’s four day strike by junior doctors is a maddening example of how under-funding public services is slowly ruining our country.

Junior doctors are demanding a 35% pay rise. They start their careers on a salary of £29,384, which is below the UK’s average income. Whilst the average doctor’s salary is £57,118, their pay is £9,000 lower than it would have been since 2010 if pay had kept pace with inflation and  we hadn’t had a decade of austerity. This has taken a heavy toll on the NHS. According to The Times , Australia is seeing a surge of British trained health staff tempted by the promise of better pay on the other side of the world. Is it any wonder that the NHS has a shortage of around 8,700 doctors? In January MPs urged the government to train more doctors , but just weeks ago the education minister threatened to fine universities that do so. The self defeating logic of austerity reigns supreme. It’s obvious we need to invest in training more NHS staff but we should also be paying them a competitive wage so they aren’t tempted to move to the other side of the globe to work. We can afford this. Our own research set out six wealth tax reforms that would raise £50 billion a year to invest in our public services. Tax cuts to come?

Far from looking to increase taxes on wealth to help rebuild our public services, sources close to the government are agitating for tax cuts … again.

In truth, taxes are up under this Conservative government and the reason for this is in part because the NHS needs more, not less investment to keep a growing and aging population healthy.

It’s time we had a sensible debate about taxation with wealth taxation at the heart of it, if we are to stem the brain drain of doctors leaving the country.

Tax Justice UK will keep pushing for a better debate in the media and among politicians.