An economist said IT “completely makes sense” that Liz Truss’s Conservative government intends to create a financial crisis in order to prepare public services like the NHS for privatization.
After Chancellor Kwasi Quarting announced swinging tax cuts for the wealthy, funded by £45 billion in government borrowing, the value of the pound plunged to record lows.
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This was followed by unprecedented interventions from the International Monetary Fund, the Bank of England and the global credit rating agency Moody’s, with growing calls from opposition politicians to summon Parliament to address the self-crisis.
Professor Richard Murphy, a political economist at the University of Sheffield, has suggested that the financial crisis may have been the UK government’s goal, with an eye on the privatization of services such as the NHS.
Speaking to The National, Murphy said: “One possibility, and I’m going to bring it up, and I have to say I think it’s perfectly reasonable: they may have actually tried to create a crisis.
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“The reason is that, in November when Kwasi Quarting promised a budget, they would say ‘You guys are so sorry, but actually because we had this awful time after my statement in September we didn’t have any money left so we have to cut back on education, the NHS , welfare, and the judiciary, whichever you want.”
Murphy said all of these public services were “already in crisis in terms of underfunding” and noted how cuts by the UK government could directly affect Scotland, even in such mandated areas.
Thanks to Barnett’s formula, changes in spending in England are automatically reflected in the block grant awarded to Scotland each year. Cuts to education or the NHS in England will then see the need to cut parallel budgets north of the border, or funding to cover shortfalls taken elsewhere.
Murphy continued, “As a result, we’ll have a huge round of austerity again. We’ll go back to [former Tory chancellor] George Osborne, or worse. And I think it’s entirely possible that this is what they wanted.Read:Inside the breathtaking bungalow that’s had a full facelift
“I think they will start charging for GP appointments – obviously this may not happen in Scotland but Scotland will have to find the money if you don’t get the money from Westminster – they may charge for hospital appointments, A&E admissions, they can charge Fees for some parts of school education. They will prepare a lot of services for privatization.”
The accounting professor told The National that Scotland had only one option left.
He said: Do you want independence or not? Do you want to be associated with a government that will lose credibility for years to come? … It will take a decade to get over this.
“Scotland really, frankly, has only one choice, and that is to get out of this mess.”
The Treasury Department has been contacted for comment.