UKIP’s NHS Privatisation Agenda

You may recently have watched the footage of UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall calling for “more free market” in the NHS. Hardcore UKIP supporters have responded to the video with claims that UKIP have changed their policy on NHS privatisation since 2011. Let us set aside the obvious argument that UKIP are merely hiding their true colours in order to appear acceptable to the public. Instead, let us look at the much more recent evidence that UKIP want to privatise the NHS.

(If you’re not sure what constitutes privatisation of a public health service, see Clive Peedell’s article on Open Democracy. In this article we’ll consider privatisation as the increasing provision of a public health service by private companies via a free market process.)

Update: Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more ‘acceptable to the electorate’

Update: Ukip general secretary calls for NHS to be privatised and compares it to Nazi Germany

1. Nigel Farage

The UKIP leader Nigel Farage called for private involvement in the NHS in an interview with The Telegraph as recently as October 2014: “I genuinely do think, when you hear of a big businessman that says he’d like to run the National Health Service and streamline it, and get better value for money, I think that’s the approach we’ve got to take.

Farage previously told the Telegraph in January 2014 that it would be “ridiculous to protect the NHS from spending cuts“.

Going back further, Farage was caught on camera in September 2012 telling UKIP supporters that the NHS should move towards an insurance-based system run by private companies.

2. Paul Nuttall 

An open letter on Nuttall’s own website opened with “I would like to congratulate the coalition government for bringing a whiff of privatisation into the beleaguered National Health Service“. The letter remained on Nuttall’s site until May 2014.

3. Samuel Fletcher 

In May 2014 Vox Political’s Mike Sivier managed to catch a tweet from UKIP candidate Samuel Fletcher – it read “Personally I would completely scrap the NHS and require everyone to take out private health insurance.

4. Bradley Monk

In May 2013 the Southern Daily Echo had reported on a very similar tweet from UKIP candidate Bradley Monk – it read “The welfare state is massively bloated. I’d scrap the NHS personally, but that is political suicide.

5. Douglas Carswell

In February 2012 Tory defector and UKIP by-election winner Douglas Carswell wrote an article on his website stating his full support for Andrew Lansley’s privatising Health & Social Care Act.


Regarding TTIP (the privatising EU-US Trade Deal) – UKIP initially came out in favour of TTIP in October 2014 but then quickly back-pedalled. What’s clear is that they would be fully in favour but for their issues with Europe: “Ukip is in favour of free trade but we are opposed to the undemocratic Commission negotiating on our behalf. Of course we look at each trade deal on case by case basis…” So clear as mud, then. At least RT’s Max Keiser seems to know the score.

7. The UKIP 2014 manifesto

UKIP spokesman Keith Rowe’s website summarised UKIP’s NHS policy in May 2014, stating: “UKIP will abolish the complex competitive tendering rules which currently make it very difficult for smaller companies to bid […] the UKIP will require the NHS to use people with commercial experience to negotiate with the private sector.” In other words, they wanted to make it easier for small private companies to take over NHS services, and they want to put privateers in control of the process.

8. The UKIP 2015 manifesto

The current UKIP manifesto claims “UKIP will ensure the NHS is free at the point of delivery and time of need for all UK residents“. UKIP have said nothing about stopping NHS privatisation – they have not claimed that they will ensure a publicly-funded, publicly-run NHS. So, if you’re trying to claim that UKIP aren’t going to privatise the NHS, copying and pasting the UKIP manifesto proves nothing.

14 thoughts on “UKIP’s NHS Privatisation Agenda”

  1. There is a problem with these articles in that they fail to highlight to anyone ignorant enough to wholeheartedly believe them that the NHS has been ripped apart for years. Labour, Tories and the Lib Dems are responsible for PFI – that is PRIVATE Finance Initiative to you and I… Between 1997 and 2008, 90% of all hospital construction funding was under PFI agreements. That debt amounts to around 20% of total national debt today! This continues to rise as we ofcourse are still turning an annual deficit. Interest rates are at record lows thank goodness, but for how long? So we have a dilemma, how are we going to pay for all these mistakes? The options are
    1) for government spending to reduce including cuts to NHS to strip out waste (UKIP proposal) or.
    2) PFI schemes or similar privatisation routes be adopted (all parties are in some way affiliated)
    3) Day of reckoning when the economy collapses (it will…), interest rates go up, we can not afford to repay the £1.4 trillion debt. Such scenario will see even greater destruction of public services

    The central government (whoever is in power) needs to get the finances under control pronto!


  2. @ Thom Foulkes

    Yeah, sod democracy, let’s put dollar signs on everything instead ‘eh?


  3. “Yes because that heavily impartial quip doesn’t make you look biased at all?”

    I think you have mistaken Stating The Bleedin’ Obvious for a quip. The last time a right-wing party claimed that it would never privatise the NHS was just before the 2010 election, and we all know what happened then.

    You also appear to mistake taking a position for bias. It is not “bias” to interrogate UKIP’s conduct and statements. It is just holding them to the standards of a real political party, rather than a mere protest vote. It is what UKIP claim to want, right up until the point that they get it. Maybe you’d prefer it if we went back to mocking Farage’s drunken lechery and face, instead of his political beliefs?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Farage also said on live TV that he would end ringfencing of funding for the NHS. Since there is literally no reason to do this if you intend to maintain or increase funding, we can assume that a UKIP government (god forbid) would want to see cuts in NHS funding.

    Honestly though, when you still have UKIP supporters denying furiously that UKIP are even right-wing, I don’t hold out much hope for converting them. Rather, I hope that UKIP continue to court support in the same way, and thereby alienate absolutely everyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. From the UKIP supporter: “Yes because that heavily impartial quip doesn’t make you look biased at all?”

    This is very obviously not an independent blog – it’s a blog by an NHA party supporter. That said, we’re no more ‘biased’ than any other political blog, and you’d do well not to confuse ‘biased’ with ‘wrong’.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The NHS does not belong to the govt, any govt, it belongs to the people you don’t like it bog off to BUPA or abroad and get yer health care. The NHS is not there to make money for greedy little shits who like feasting on people’s misery, the NHS has always been something we can be proud of unlike our politicians and their sycophant supporters especially Tory and ukip ones who’d sell their own kids if the price was right

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The NHS must be privatised and sold off. In addition TTIP should be extended to mandate full privatisation of all public services including the police, forces and justice system. We should get the state out of people’s lives and allow business to create wealth.

    UKIP are held back by their nationalism. A truly free market would allow multinationals to rightly hold the balance of power and make nation states compete fairly.


  8. “Let us set aside the obvious argument that UKIP are merely hiding their true colours in order to appear acceptable to the public.”

    Yes because that heavily impartial quip doesn’t make you look biased at all?


  9. Not to mention the headline in the Telegraph on 28 Jan 2014. “Nigel Farage: ‘The Tories have failed; only UKIP dares cut spending on NHS and pensions.'”

    Liked by 3 people

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