Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Impact of the crisis on access to care for vulnerable groups

Delivered in Plenary - 4 July 2013

Mr President

Access to health care, social services and welfare benefits are all areas which have been affected by the economic crisis in Europe. With pathways to care threatened by this necessary fiscal contraction, it is hardly surprising that vulnerable groups, sadly, have also been affected.

I am deeply supportive of initiatives designed to protect the long-term unemployed, elderly and disabled. However, I am hesitant to support some of the measures suggested by this report, which is far too intrusive. The proposal, for instance, calling for Member States to carry out social impact assessments of austerity measures is inappropriate for a problem which requires a national solution and national policies.

In my own London constituency the main statutory agencies, local councils, the police and NHS organisations work hard together in helping vulnerable groups within our society. So local enforcement needs to be ensured and efforts need to be directed at a national rather than a European level. In linking national issues to the poverty targets contained within the EU 2020, this report focuses far too much on a one-size-fits-all solution which is inappropriate. I therefore voted against it.