An exclusive poll conducted by Survation for Unite, in the constituency of Rochester and Strood, reveals that the NHS is clearly the most important issue for voters at the forthcoming by-election.
The poll of 1,012 people in the constituency also showed that, excluding those who said ‘don’t know’, a significant majority of voters (76 per cent) opposed the inclusion of the NHS in the EU-US trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and want David Cameron to use his veto in Europe to prevent the NHS falling into the scope of this agreement.
37 per cent of voters considered the quality of local NHS hospitals and GP services in Medway to be the most important issue for them and their family at the moment. Concern over immigration trailed by 12 points (at 25 per cent) compared to voter concerns over the NHS.
The poll was conducted on 27 and 28 October.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The future of our NHS is what really matters to voters and their families in Rochester and Strood and it’s going to be what really matters to voters at the next general election. When most voters learn that the NHS is at risk of irreversible privatisation because of the trade deal called TTIP they expect David Cameron to act and be prepared to veto the deal. This is not an isolated poll, a majority of voters across a number of marginal Tory constituencies all want the government to protect the NHS from TTIP.
“Britain won’t be fooled by vague assurances over the NHS, the people of this country do not believe it’s right for the NHS to be part of an American trade deal.
“It’s ‘the party that fights most for the NHS’ not ‘the party that fights most against immigration’ that will win the next general election.”
The deal, known as TTIP, is being negotiated behind the closed doors, between EU bureaucrats and delegates from the United States.
It is the largest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and threatens to make privatisation of the NHS irreversible by giving the profits of corporations precedence over national lawmakers. TTIP would grant American multinationals, or any firm with American investors, the power to sue the government if it ever attempted to take privatised health services back into public ownership.
A poll, carried out by Survation in August this year, questioned over 2,600 voters across 13 marginal Conservative-held seats. Respondents were asked if health should be excluded from the deal and if David Cameron should use Britain’s veto.
Across all constituencies 68 per cent said they opposed the inclusion of the NHS as part of the deal. Opposition was highest from those planning on voting for Labour or UKIP, 78 per cent and 77 per cent respectively, and just 23 per cent of Conservative voters supported inclusion.
For further information contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
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.