From the TUC

TTIP: Government needs to insist on protection for public services

13 Jul 2014, by in International

There has been a flurry of publicity and comment over the weekend about the impact the EU-US Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) could have on the NHS – and we shouldn’t forget other public services like education, post, rail and water. This has partly resulted from a widely publicised letter from the EU chief trade negotiator to Labour MP John Healey, and partly from the UK civil society day of action on Saturday that included War on Want and the Landowners’ Alliance.

Some have argued that the NHS is now safe – Vince Cable says there was never any threat in the first place (you remember, he handled Post Office privatisation so well) – and others that it never will be. The truth, which will require us to engage in harder work than any of those assumptions, is that it really depends on what we all do over the next year or so (don’t expect TTIP to be finalised soon!)

The Bercero letter doesn’t mean that public services are safe or that a future government could undo the impact of current Government changes to the NHS without impediment. In fact his suggestion that existing provisions do safeguard public services rather implies either that he doesn’t understand the threat, or is over-claiming the possibility of protection to avoid the further pressure we need to put him, the Commission and politicians under.

The letter does mean that the NHS and other public services can be saved, or ring-fenced from the impact of TTIP. But that will require the British Government, MPs and MEPs, and finally the Council of Ministers and the Commission to remove Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) from the agreement, and put a robust exclusion zone around public services.

So there is a lot of campaigning and lobbying still to do.

2 Responses to TTIP: Government needs to insist on protection for public services

  1. John
    Jul 14th 2014, 2:41 am

    The depth of this subject is getting deeper & deeper (for me). As an outsider I am interested, but with all these different Trade regulations now being negotiated, I appreciate these Touchstone articles. The repercusións that could happen unless these regulations are carefully monitored is concerning. With thanks.

  2. Caroline Molloy
    Jul 16th 2014, 11:25 am

    For an analysis of just why the Healey letter shouldn’t reassure anyone, read John Hilary (experienced trade activist and head of War on Want) on why the TTIP still threatens the NHS.