Unite clarifies that leave is no protection for the NHS
Today’s Guardian (6 April 2016) featured an article with Lord Owen giving his view that the best way to protect the NHS in the future is to vote to leave the European Union.
Unite does not shares the view of Lord Owen and wishes to make absolutely clear that there is no contradiction whatsoever in our stated position of vigorous opposition to the TTIP trade deal particularly around our demand for the exemption of the NHS, while campaigning firmly to remain in the European Union in the coming referendum.
The article cites Lord Owen’s reference to the legal opinion commissioned by Unite as evidence of the danger that the TTIP deal poses for the NHS. Lord Owen is correct on this; the legal advice does show there is real and significant danger for the NHS to be part of the TTIP trade deal.
However, the legal opinion Unite commissioned also made it very clear that the UK government has the power and ability to grant a full exemption to the NHS from the entire scope of TTIP.
Unite believes that the UK government granting a blanket exemption is currently the best way to protect the future of the NHS from any adverse effects from TTIP as other countries have done for key areas.
While Lord Owen has been a long-time defender of the NHS, many of the leading Tory figures in the ‘Leave’ campaign have been full supporters of the government’s reforms aimed at privatising and contracting out the NHS.
Unite will continue to campaign vigorously both for the carve out of the NHS from TTIP and for a vote to Remain in the EU in the interests of its members’ jobs, the considerable number of employment rights that we derive from EU law, and in the interests of peace and unity on the continent.