Voices on the Left: 5 blogs from the left you need to read this week

A roundup of news from progressive outlets…

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1.MPs Urged to Ditch Ties to Parliamentary Lobby Group Run by ‘Climate Denialist’Byline Times

MPs are being urged to cut their links to the anti-fuel tax All Party Parliamentary Group for UK Motorists and Hauliers, after it emerged that the group’s official sponsor, Howard Cox, downplayed pollution as a cause of death of a nine year old girl and claimed “there is no climate crisis”.

Byline Times reports: “Jemima Hartshorn, Founder and Director of Mums for Lungs, is asking “FairFuel” APPG members including Priti Patel and Labour’s Graham Stringer to sever all links with Cox, and his lobby group FairFuel UK following recent comments.

“FairFuel UK is the official secretariat for the cross-party – but Conservative-dominated – group, providing administrative support for the meetings and events. FairFuel UK is also the official public point of contact for the group, and conducts much of the research for the APPG.”

Comments from Howard Cox include:

  • Repeatedly stating that “there is no climate crisis”, referring to it as the “alleged” climate crisis”.
  • Claiming climate change is not man-made, saying “We’ve been here before and we will come through it again unscathed”.
  • Saying in a video on Twitter that snow in the UK in December 2022 was evidence that there is no global warming. 

2. NHS paid private firms £500m to ‘ease backlog’. Fewer patients got seen-openDemocracy

Despite the government handing almost half a billion pounds to private healthcare companies to fix the NHS backlog last year, it is still struggling to treat any more patients than it was, openDemocracy reports.

NHS bosses in England have been given up to £10bn to spend on private health companies as part of the government’s plan to reduce the record number of patients waiting for care.

Among the beneficiaries are Australian healthcare multinational Ramsay, which received £134m to offer non-emergency care to NHS patients between 2021 and 2022.

Spire Healthcare, which operates 38 private hospitals formerly owned by Bupa, has been handed a further £108m over the same period.

Despite the involvement of private companies, the number of patients being treated overall has not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

openDemocracy reports: “Between January and November 2022, the NHS treated 6.6% fewer patients from elective care waiting lists than it did over the same period in 2019, according to an analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.”

3. Conservative MP Set to Pocket £153,600 from Fossil Fuel-Linked Firms-DeSmog

Tory MP Mark Pritchard stands to earn £153,600 in the next 12 months from three jobs with companies that have an interest in fossil fuels, DeSmog reports.

In yet more evidence that Tory MPs care little about the climate emergency, Pritchard is the latest Tory MP to be exposed for his links to the fossil fuel industry.

DeSmog reports: “A new update to Pritchard’s register of interest shows that the MP has accepted a £46,800 a year role with the Texas-based Focal Point Energy LLP, an energy investment and development company that works for fossil fuel firms. The company is run by a former energy adviser to Donald Trump’s administration, and is advised by a former Republican senator who has questioned climate science.

“This income adds to the £48,000 a year role that Pritchard accepted earlier in the year with the engineering firm Redway AG, which appears to include oil companies among its clients.

“Since May 2022, Pritchard has also been an adviser to US firm Linden Energy, where he picks up a salary equivalent to £58,800 per year. Linden Energy has a 50 percent stake in Bulgaria’s largest private natural gas company, Overgas, and has downplayed the impact of fossil fuels on the climate crisis.”

4.Nurses Tell of Disappointment With Latest NHS Pay Offer-Novara Media

While nursing unions such as the Royal College of Nursing and other such as Unison have asked nurses to accept the latest pay offer from the government, which would give lowest paid workers a 10.4% uplift, and the rest of staff just 5%, cross-union group ‘NHS workers Say No’ has urged members to reject the offer.

Novara media has a write up of why many nurses are voting to reject the pay offer. The site reports: “Claire, a nurse working at a hospital in London, said that after taking strike action the proposed deal is a let down. Like all the health workers in this piece, she spoke to Novara Media using a pseudonym to avoid a backlash for her comments.

“Honestly, I just feel disappointed” she said. “Strike action was so hard and conflicting, so financially difficult and all just for 5% … It feels really insulting.”

“I voted to reject, as the pay deal is simply not a good one. The fact that the union is trying to sell it to us as one just feels like a betrayal to the members.”

5. Typical worker would need to work 400 years to benefit from Hunt’s pension tax break-Morning Star

The Morning Star reports on Labour’s claim that Jeremy Hunt’s budget giveaway of a £1 billion tax break for pensioners will benefit only the wealthiest 1 per cent of Britain’s retirees, with typical workers having to work for 400 years before they can benefit.

The paper reports: “Labour said the £1bn tax giveaway would benefit only people with a pension pot of £1.07 million for their old age. But the average amount saved in pension plans is only £107,000.

“Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said: “Someone starting out their career today would have to work until the year 2423 before they’d see a penny from the Tories’ tax giveaway to the top 1 per cent.

“At a time when families across the country face rising bills, higher taxes and frozen wages, this is the wrong priority at the wrong time.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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