Scotland is calling on David Cameron to use his veto to exclude the NHS from TTIP. One of Alex Salmond’s final acts as First Minister for Scotland was to write personally to the Prime Minister David Cameron.
In the letter Alex Salmond writes; “Scotland must not be bound into a trade deal that threatens the public ownership of the NHS and could undermine the democratic decisions of the Scottish people.”
Last night First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated the Scottish government’s position by tweeting, “For those asking about #TTIP, I share concerns about ISDS and oppose any inclusion of the NHS. @scotgov has made this clear to UK gov.”
Mr Salmond set out the Scottish government’s outright opposition to the inclusion of the NHS in the EU-US trade deal called TTIP. It’s the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and threatens to make the sell-off of the NHS irreversible by giving the profits of corporations precedence over national lawmakers. TTIP would give US multinationals, or any firm with American investors, new rights to sue the UK government if it ever tried to take privatised health services back into public hands.
The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are the only political parties across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to support the trade deal which threatens the irreversible privatisation of the NHS.
An earlier extensive telephone poll, carried out by Survation in August this year questioned over 2,600 voters across 13 marginal Conservative-held seats. Respondents were asked if the NHS should be excluded from the deal.
Across all constituencies, of those that stated a view - 68 per cent said they opposed the inclusion of the NHS as part of the deal.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “From Dundee to Devon people are demanding that David Cameron uses his veto to exclude the NHS from TTIP.There is a backlash against this trade deal across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Parties from across the political spectrum oppose the NHS being part of a trade deal that threatens the irreversible privatisation of the NHS. The Liberal Democrats and the Tories are more interested in being on the side of US corporations looking to buy up our NHS than being on the side of voters. It’s time for David Cameron and Nick Clegg to act.
In the letter Alex Salmond also states: “The Scottish government is also extremely concerned that investor state dispute mechanisms such as those being proposed for TTIP are being used by increasing numbers of companies to take aggressive investor protection cases against the legitimate and democratic decisions of government. I understand the Slovakian government was sued when it brought the Slovak health insurance system back into public hands. Such actions restrict the rights of government to legislate in the public interest and their ability to bring privatised services back into public hands. This is unacceptable and is made worse by the deeply undemocratic nature of the corporate arbitration panels which oversee a process outside national law and with no right of appeal.
I urge you to seriously consider these issues as your government represents the people of Scotland in the EU trade policy committee.”
Contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Twitter: @unitetheunion, Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.