National politics

The BBC’s idea of a NHS worker

It’s not where the cuts are, it’s who they effect. And at the moment they are affecting more vulnerable people and all the economists are saying that.

Who is this impassioned NHS worker speaking on last night’s BBC London spending review debate? A nurse? A doctor? A senior manager having to make ghastly decisions? Er, no. She is a communications and PR person who works for a London mental health trust.

On the side Brumfitt is a performance poet who has appeared at a number of festivals and even made it on to Radio 4. Apparently she only started work in London in February and already she is on the telly pretending to be a NHS worker. Will the protection of the NHS ensure that people like her continue to have jobs? I hope not.

In her remarks she complains that the housing benefit cap for a single low paid worker in Westminster is “only” £14K and that this compares badly with an MPs allowance of £24K. She is right but so wrong. On what planet can we afford to keep a single person on £14K of housing benefits? Most working young people in London who pay the taxes out of which housing benefit comes pay £500 per month to share a flat in the suburbs and then pay to go into town on the Tube or whatever.

Let me make three guesses about Brumfitt: she is Oxbridge educated (the burning sense of entitlement shines through), she socialises with BBC people, she will appear with a red rosette on a doorstep near you one day soon.

2 replies on “The BBC’s idea of a NHS worker”


Having checked my payslip I am definately an NHS worker. Indeed, I started in London in February, but have been working in the NHS for about five years- So I don’t think I am ‘posing’ as an NHS worker- I didn’t put the tag line on, they had full details of my job title and info.

That said, if I am seen at any point not to be delivering value in my job to support better engagement and communications with staff, or with patients- I would be happy for them to turf me out. I want the NHS to be protected for patients- not for my job.

I am definately not Oxbridge educated- I went to a run of the mill comprehensive, got run of the mill results and went to a run of the mill university (one of theose former poly ones)

I don’t socialise with BBC people, my only BBC friend lives miles away and does not work in England. I had no contacts at all that caused my involvement with this programme, which I was asked to be on following some comments I fed in to the BBC on regarding benefits- in particular incapacity benefit, which sadly the debate did not get round to mentioning.

Maybe we can’t afford 14k housing benefit (ps- lots of people on housing benefit DO work they just don’t get paid enough to cover their rent), in which case, maybe we can cap the amounts charged by profiteering landlords in the city? It’s a thought.

Oh, and I won’t be on anyone’s doorstep with a red rosette anytime soon.

Nought out of three. Good job you weren’t placing a bet.



You are a good sport.

You make a good point about landlords. In fact before the election a local estate agent came to see me to explain that the Labour’s Local Housing Allowance scheme had created a separate rental market for tenants on housing benefit where rents were much higher than regular commercial rents due to the ludicrous LHA rates. This is one of the big changes to housing benefit made by the chancellor to counter a significant abuse by landlords. You will be aware of the notorious Acton Afghans case.

What was wrong with the IFS’s recent report was that it failed to point out that the government’s housing benefit changes would mainly disadvantage landlords rather than tenants. It might force some people to move regrettably but the change will push rents down.


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