Government and Institutions

IEA: Labour leader’s patent overhaul “likely to worsen” NHS problems


Government and Institutions

IEA responds to Shadow Chancellor's speech at Labour Party Conference

Kate Andrews responds to the Leader's speech at Labour Party Conference

Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to Labour Party Conference, the Institute of Economic Affairs’s Associate Director Kate Andrews said:

“Jeremy Corbyn’s negative view of free trade directly contradicts his stated desire to put “wealth and power in the hands of the many.”

“The broad principle of free trade is almost universally agreed by economists to bring benefits and raise living standards for all parties involved. The Labour leader should be cautious to attack a trade deal with the United States, when the details are largely unknown, and the potential gains – especially for consumers – are numerous.

“Nor should the NHS be politicised in this debate, with the intention to put people off the benefits to be gleaned from increasing free trade around the world (especially considering American companies can already bid, and win, NHS contracts).

“Jeremy Corbyn also contradicts himself by calling for high earners to pay more tax, while attacking big pay packages. It is high earners who pay for the bulk of public services. Flirtation with maximum wages would not only damage Britain’s economy and jobs sector, but also risk the services currently provided by the state. 

“Furthermore, Jeremy Corbyn’s call for compulsory licensing for medication puts at risk a patent system that encourages innovation and revolutions in medicine, which patients in the UK and across the world benefit from daily. Removing all profit motive from healthcare is likely to worsen the problems that already exist in the NHS: rationing, limited patient choice, and the lack of innovation in the market for drugs and new treatment.

“Despite the tax burden creeping near a fifty-year high, the Labour leader has called for tax increases, while promising to serve up a huge platter of public spending commitments. From abolishing tuition fees to offering free childcare, these giveaways come with a huge financial cost, which will burden younger generations down the road.

“For nearly every problem that Jeremy Corbyn cited today, his answer involved more state bureaucracy and interference. But history tells us it is free enterprise, not state control, that mends and solves society’s biggest challenges.”

Notes to editors:

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For further IEA reading on free trade, click here.

For further IEA reading on high pay, click here.

For further IEA reading on healthcare, click here.

For further IEA reading on socialism, click here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties