Saturday, October 12, 2013

Having a pop at Plaid

Plaid Cymru have been in Aberystwyth this weekend for their Conference, and have been regaling us with some of their new policy ideas.

The economy features quite a bit, it is an important strand of their policy making, along with jobs for young people.  They seem to have forgotten that they held the economic development portfolio for four years until 2012 and did precious little with it, but let’s not let little things get in the way shall we?

They also seem to have overlooked the fact that the economy and youth jobs are a major priority when they negotiated with the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Welsh Labour Government on the budget over the past few weeks.  Whilst we remained consistent in driving forward our education priority via the Pupil Deprivation Grant Plaid didn’t see it necessary to try and build on the apprenticeship scheme they wanted set up last year, the outcome of which is unclear.

Health is also important to the party who are trying to convince themselves and anyone who can be bothered to listen that they can form the next Welsh Government. Well as I said, let’s not let little things get in the way shall we?

One of their seemingly more bizarre proposals, hot off the back of a brown envelope it would seem, is to charge a tax on sugary drinks.  Leader Leanne Wood said

“We must change consumption patterns if we are to stop the obesity epidemic as well as boost resources for healthcare. So, the Welsh Government I will lead will introduce a sugary drink levy of up to 20p per litre. We will employ 1,000 more doctors with the monies raised, bringing Wales up to the UK average and reducing the need to take services further away from people. This is Plaid Cymru's alternative to hospital centralisation.”

Now whist the health benefits of such a tax may have some merit there are some very obvious flaws, not the least of which is that currently the Welsh government has no power to impose any such tax. However, let’s not let little things get in the way….

The figures just do not add up at all.  Asreported by Wales Online there is some dispute about how much would be needed to pay for 1000 extra doctors, and consumption would have to rise dramatically to bring in the funds necessary.  This would surely negate the purpose of a tax on unhealthy drinks?  Would Plaid be actively encouraging people to drink them to keep the wages coming in? 

Plaid say this will prevent the need for hospital reorganisation but this is pure pie in the sky politics. When everyone else in the South Wales Central region she is elected to represent was making the case for retention of services at the Royal Glamorgan Leanne was sticking firmly to the line that none of the reorganisation should happen.

What level are these 1000 extra doctors going to be at to start with?  That many junior doctors wouldn’t solve the problem of not being able to provide Consultant led services in every hospital. Not with-standing the fact that we keep getting told the recruitment issue is not a matter of money.  Also of course provision of specialist service isn’t only about the number of doctors – there is a need for equipment and training and specialist nurse support – but hey, let’s not let little things get in the way shall we?





Anonymous said...

Your claim that a sugar drink tax would encourage people to drink more pop is about as sound as arguing the tobacco tax encourages people to smoke more faggs. Utter nonsense. You are wrong on this. You should also note that although the Welsh Government does currently have the power to levy (like carrier bags) it does not have the power to direct the income raised to the NHS This will of course change if the Silk Commission recommendations are adopted. In fact, Silk specifically uses a 'pop tax' as an example. Am I to assume that your bosses in London have now told you not to support the Silk recommendations?

Karen Roberts said...

Oh do read the thing properly. I asked whether Plaid would be encouraging people to drink them in order to keep the tax rolling in. And yes Silk mentions a pop tax but does not say it should be used to fund doctors.

Please try and come up with some reasoned arguments.

Anonymous said...

You know that Plaid is not encouraging people to drink more sugared pop. You also know that Plaid does not encourage people to smoke faggs. I know you think this Plaid policy is a good one and you personally support it. You only are currently voicing opposition because it's another political party that's taking it forward. Let me know when you get over it and end your 'opposition for the sake of opposition', just like you did with free prescriptions.

Karen Roberts said...

I don't agree with free prescriptions actually

Anonymous said...

Neither do I Karen! They were just a sop to the public! Just so the Welsh Assembly can project an "aren't we wonderful and different"

Prescriptions were free anyway if you are under 21, students, senior citizens or on benefits so that is most of Wales taken care of!!

But hey!! That doesn't matter as we can still get all our bills, prescriptions etc., in Welsh, so as long as that is still happening why worry about unemployment, hospitals, libraries closing etc.,

Why not give us all our bills in Welsh with the option to have them English (in this area this is the option more likely to be chosen) Or give them in English with the option to have them in Welsh. Ask Plaid how much "double language" bills have cost!!!!!! Wonder if Leanne pays hers via the Welsh option????

Anonymous said...

"They were just a sop to the public!"

Absolutely - dreadful to give the public something they might like.

"Prescriptions were free anyway if you are under 21, students, senior citizens or on benefits so that is most of Wales taken care of!!"

So you disagree with these people getting free prescriptions?? Why?

Anonymous said...

Because it encourages people to get a prescription for every minor ailment. Yes doctors do over prescribe - particularly in Cwm Taff health area!!!!! It is easier to dole out drugs in their 10 minute appointment slot, than try to ascertain the root cause of the problem. If they are free they are not valued. For people with chronic health problem there used to be a "season ticket" that could be purchased for approx £120 per year. Less than £3 per week!!! I used this system myself as I have a chronic possibly terminal condition. I had no objection in using this system.

Anonymous said...

"Because it encourages people to get a prescription for every minor ailment"

The worrying thing is that you probably believe this.

Never have I heard those who claim that this is what happens say that it happened before 2003-07 when about 80-85% of prescriptions were already free of charge. Never saw or heard anyone before this time campaign in favour of prescription charges for all which would be the logical thing to do if you believe people are abusing the system.

Even that muppet Randerson eventually acknowledged that the Liberal Democrat line of "Beecham's Powders for millionaires" was a load of balls

Anonymous said...

Not worrying at all - I do not "probably" believe this, I REALLY believe this.

You said previously and sarcastically, was it dreadful to give the public something they wanted? Why would they want it if, as you say 80 - 85% of prescriptions were already free of charge - ergo - they already had it!!!! Just shows how empty was this grandiose gesture by the Welsh Government.