Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has called on David Cameron to use his veto to exempt the NHS from a controversial EU-US trade deal following the admission from the government today (1 September 2014) that the NHS is included in the deal.
The French have already used their veto to exclude the French film industry.
At a press conference today (1st September) held at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Lord Livingston confirmed that the NHS was part of TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)
The deal, known as TTIP, is being negotiated behind the closed doors of the European Commission, 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. Secret courts 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.
Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: “Now that the government has finally admitted that the NHS is not exempt from the controversial trade deal called TTIP, David Cameron must act on voter’s concerns and get an exemption for the NHS without fail.
“The government is allowing faceless bureaucrats in Brussels and Washington to make the sell-off of our treasured NHS permanent. The French have already used their veto to exclude the French film industry. There is no reason why the British government can’t do the same to protect the NHS.
“The people of this country didn’t vote for selling-off our NHS and they didn’t vote to make the sell-off irreversible by giving US companies the right to sue us in secret courts. It is an outrage that this government is prepared to expose our NHS to US companies and Wall Street investors.
“Lord Livingston tried to claim that the NHS won’t be affected, in that case why is the NHS included in the deal and why can’t the government just take the NHS out of TTIP? The government needs to stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes and veto the inclusion of the NHS in TTIP now.”
A poll, carried out by Survation, questioned over 2,600 voters across 13 marginal Conservative-held seats. Respondents were asked if the National Health Service should be excluded from the deal and if David Cameron should use Britain’s veto.
Across all constituencies 68% 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% and 77% respectively, and just 23% of Conservative voters supported inclusion.’
64% said David Cameron should seek to exclude the NHS from the trade agreement altogether.
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.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1