North East MP warns transatlantic trade deal could threaten the NHS

Easington MP Grahame Morris has raised concerns that a trade deal between UK and American bureaucrats is putting the NHS at serious risk of privatisation

Easington MP Grahame Morris
Easington MP Grahame Morris

Fears have been raised by a North East MP that a trade deal between the UK and America is putting the NHS at serious risk of privatisation.

The deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), is being negotiated between EU bureaucrats and delegates from the United States.

It is the largest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and Easington MP Grahame Morris says it “threatens to make privatisation irreversible by giving the profits of corporations precedence over national lawmakers.”

In a poll recently undertaken by Survation Ltd it showed that more than two-thirds of voters in 13 battleground constituencies want to see the NHS safeguarded from the TTIP.

Mr Morris, a member of the Health Select Committee, said: “When the public learn about this trade deal, which could have major consequences for the NHS, they are right to be concerned.

“I am not impressed by the failure of David Cameron and his Government to give a crystal clear assurance that the NHS will be exempt from this trade deal.

“Why is this Government refusing to give a straight answer to a very simple but very important question, will this Government ensure that the NHS is exempt from TTIP?

“I will be raising my concerns with my colleagues on the Health Select Committee because of the Government’s refusal to be straight with people who care about the NHS.”

The new poll, carried out by Survation Ltd, questioned more than 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. While 64% said the Prime Minister should seek to exclude the NHS from the trade agreement altogether and 54% want Mr Cameron to veto the agreement if necessary in order to safeguard the NHS.

The Department of Health has insisted that the NHS will always remain free for patients and the TTIP will not affect the way it is run as the partnership will leave EU countries free to control how they run their public health systems.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We have no intention of allowing the European Commission to dictate the opening up of NHS services to further competition through TTIP; and it will not do so. The NHS will always be free at the point of use for everyone who needs it.”

Meanwhile, thousands of people are set to take part in a march, to recreate the historic Jarrow March, but this time in protest over wide-scale reforms to the NHS. The group, which calls itself 999 Call for the NHS, will gather in Jarrow town centre at 10am and Saturday. The march will end 300 miles later in London on September 6.


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