Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership June 2016
Thank you for contacting me recently regarding the potential impact of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on public procurement including in the NHS.
I have met and corresponded with many constituents who have alerted me to their concerns on TTIP, so I appreciate there is considerable public concern about the TTIP negotiations and, in particular, about the impact this agreement could have on our public services and in important areas such as consumer safety. I met with members of 38 Degrees in October in Bulwell to discuss TTIP and the issues at hand.
In its current form I do not support the passage of TTIP. I would like all of the negotiations to take place in public instead of behind closed doors as an agreement of such importance should be subject to full and proper scrutiny in both the European Parliament and the UK Parliament. Also, the ISDS clauses should ensure that no company is allowed to sue the Government, as this puts public services such as the NHS at risk. I was disappointed that the Coalition Government paid such little attention to these concerns and I believe it is important the current Government ensure they are covered in the negotiating process.
I am concerned about the alarming pace of NHS privatisation under this Government and I agree that this could damage the culture and character of one of our most cherished public services. Our NHS works best when it is able to provide high quality, integrated care but I fear that the Government's changes to the NHS made by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act will make the NHS more fragmented and set up as a full-scale market.
That is why I opposed against these changes and why I welcome the commitment that a future Labour Government would repeal the Health and Social Care Act.
I also appreciate that there has been concern expressed that this creeping privatisation of the NHS could be further extended through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is currently being negotiated by the EU and the USA.
It is important to bear in mind that this free trade agreement could potentially lead to significant economic benefits for the UK, the EU, the USA and the wider global economy. Indeed, TTIP could help bring jobs, growth and new trading opportunities to the UK economy and I hope that it will be possible to agree a treaty that capitalises on this. I fought the General Election on a manifesto that recognised the potential benefits of TTIP but emphasised that any final agreement needs to ensure that the NHS is protected and that it also promotes decent jobs and avoids a race to the bottom.
The first key test for TTIP is the ability of the deal to deliver jobs and growth. The second is that it should be open and accountable. The third is the aim to achieve the highest possible standards regarding social and environmental concerns and wages. Fourthly, the agreement must allow national Governments to act in their own interests and according to their own democratic mandates.
The Opposition has long called for an exemption for the NHS from trade deals. I welcome that an amendment expressing regret that a Bill to protect the NHS was not included in the Queen's Speech was accepted by the Government in May.
NHS services should never be called into question by any international treaties or agreements, such as TTIP. I hope that the Government now listen and respond to these concerns. I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue very closely
Thank you once again for writing to me and sharing your views. I would also like to thank to the people who wrote to me recently thanking me for my continues opposition of TTIP in its current form. It is nice to hear that our work is being appriciated.
I met with members of 38 Degrees on Saturday 10th October at the Riverside in Bulwell to discuss the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and receive a petition with signatures from my constituents.