Culture needs a radical rethink

Bexhill Observer Letters
Bexhill Observer Letters

Britain will undoubtedly still engage in Council of Europe led ‘so-called EU Projects’, as do non-EU Egypt and Switzerland, but while our contributions to the separate EU Budget will be spent as Britain needs (Michael Phillips, 27/1/17), these will not cure our dysfunctional NHS and welfare-state, as earlier raised by Cllr Clark.

Those who understand history will know that in mediaeval times families, parishes, the Church and Ladies of the Manor (prior to the Poor Laws) willingly looked after their own through local tithes.

Parish alms and poor houses catered for their genuinely sick and poor: the able were put to work, relieving the burden on society, leading them out of destitution.

The Poor Laws evolved into the Liberal’s National Insurance Act (1911) with NI contributions and ‘panel’ doctors enabling the sick to return to work or receive welfare.

However, Labour’s ‘nationalised’ NHS (1948) never intended offering much of what it currently does, and therein lies the problem with today’s mollycoddled welfare-state - it’s one tax-payers can’t afford.

Any fool can pour tax-payers’ money into bottomless NHS/welfare pits - it takes skill to spend limited resources wisely. Those self-employed who have worked in nationalised industry and local government can attest at how wasteful of money and inefficient those bodies can be when living off guaranteed tax-payer funding (especially on IT and using up budgets by April 5).

Britain’s sacrosanct, state-funded NHS/social-welfare ‘culture’ urgently needs a radical re-think, but any attempt at improving efficiencies and reducing unnecessary costs are thwarted by paranoid, polarised politicians and unions.

So we must question honestly, which type of care/funding is best for which condition? The state (NHS/National Insurance), regulated not-for-profit private insurance (BUPA, HSA etc), the chemist or charity (British Legion, philanthropists)?

For example, public money squandered on commercial ‘arts, culture and leisure’ projects could be diverted to elderly care.

We need an independent, free-thinking, Royal Commission (with the exemplary Frank Field and Ian Duncan Smith, devoid of party politics) while Brexit gives us the ideal opportunity for Britain to reform the NHS/welfare system into one fit for the 21st century. Let’s do it.

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