Referendum campaign must ‘wake-up’ to NHS trade deal threat

Referendum campaign must ‘wake-up’ to NHS trade deal threat

21 August 2014

Both sides of the independence referendum campaign must ‘wake up’ to the threat of the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) which could make the privatisation of the NHS and other public services in Scotland permanent, warns Unite. 

Veiled negotiations between the European Commission and the United States trade representatives are ongoing to conclude an agreement between the EU and US which could open-up Scotland’s public services to a massive privatisation agenda and remove protection in other key areas like the environment, food safety and workers’ rights. 

TTIP proposes a raft of pro-corporate and de-regulatory measures that would allow companies who procure public services to sue sovereign governments should they decide to restore previously privatised services, including any in the NHS, to public ownership.

In a week where both sides of the referendum campaign have publicly promoted their anti-privatisation credentials for the NHS in Scotland, Unite is concerned that many politicians are apparently unware of the impact TTIP could have on the NHS, wider public services and other sectors. 

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “No matter if Scotland is governed from Westminster or Holyrood, the NHS could be devastated by this trade deal, which could make privatisation permanent.

“It’s been reported that up to £100 million worth of Scottish health services have been consumed by the private sector and the NHS is already under serious attack across the rest of the UK.  

“Under TTIP once a service is gone, it’ll be gone for good. 

“Both sides of the referendum debate must reject the inclusion of the NHS in this anti-democratic deal and wake-up to the devil in the detail of a deal that could devastate democracy, workers’ rights and public service provision. 

“With Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling due to debate again this Monday evening, the figureheads of the respective campaigns have the perfect opportunity to declare their opposition to TTIP before a nationwide audience.

“Unite urges them to do just that.” 


For further information please contact Peter Welsh on 07810 157 931. 

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.