The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a bilateral trade treaty which is being negotiated currently between the US and EU. The purpose is to allow America access to the EU single market and allow American companies to compete for private contracts whilst also enabling American companies to sue EU member country governments.
As Lee Williams explained it in The Independent, “TTIP is about reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations.”
This is not a good situation, however it is made exponentially worse by the current lack of exemption for privatised or part-privatised services such as the NHS. So far as I understand it, each member state has the right to one veto, that they can use to remove a fundamental service from the grasp of big American commerce. In our case, there is pressure on the UK government to remove the NHS from the agreement which despite the wishes of the Conservative party to sell it of bit by bit has resulted in a bill being put to the vote today.
Whilst the NHS in Scotland is and has always been independent of the NHS in England, the rules of TTIP apply at member state level and so there would be no exemption for the Scottish NHS should this bill not pass. That means that regardless of how much the people and ministers of Scotland treasure a ‘free at the point of need’ NHS, contracts would legally have to be put up to tender to private companies. If this didn’t happen then these companies could sue the Scottish or UK governments for substantial vats of cash.
Here is the text that I sent him:
Dear Mark Lazarowicz (cc Iain McGill)
I’m writing to ask you to go to Friday’s debate on the NHS, and vote in favour of the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill.
Please can you tell me whether you plan to attend the debate, and how you’ll vote?
As my MP, I’d like you to support this Bill because I think this is a vital opportunity to protect the NHS from privatisation. By scrapping the worst parts of the Health and Social Care Act, it would make sure that our health service puts patients’ needs before profit. It’d also protect the NHS from the threat of the dangerous TTIP trade deal.
Where the other candidates in my constituency have been announced, I’ve copied them into this email. The NHS is an important election issue for me, and I’d like to understand where each candidate stands.
I look forward to hearing from you
I will post his response in a follow up