A search through the BBC archives gives an interesting list of reports on “NHS rationing”. The fact that there is in many ways no “national” health service has not yet occurred to the BBC reporters…. Politicians have denied the existence of “rationing” for over two decades. There is no sign that they will change their “lines” now. The economist comments in “Pay-as-you-go government – August 29th 2015” about the temptation to tax indirectly and on consumption …. and admits that it’s a sensible way to be honest. Without honesty from our politicians we cannot move forward: only backward
….”Charges can be an efficient way of rationing public services. London’s congestion charge, an £11.50 levy on cars entering the city centre, prevents its streets from getting clogged. Parking charges force people to vacate sought-after spaces. After Newcastle introduced a small fee for its municipal rat-catching service in 2014, the number of call-outs dropped by 35%, which the council put down to residents dealing with the problem themselves by “clearing out their sheds” (others say there are simply more rats about). Local authorities rightly balk at cutting spending on social services while subsidising bars’ licensing applications to the tune of £170m a year.
But some of the so-called charges are much more like taxes. Technocrats at the Office for National Statistics classify a charge as a payment related to the use, and cost, of a service. If a charge is above cost, or separate from the person’s use of a service, then it is a tax. That leaves the Home Office’s pricey visas and NHS surcharge looking uncomfortably tax-like….