Alex agrees with Andy Burnham: EU/US Trade Agreement would be greatest threat to the NHS

Andy Burnham  recently uncovered the scale of Tory party donors’ profits from the NHS – with contracts to the tune of £1.5 billion.

Less headline grabbing – but probably even more important –Andy Burnham understands the implications of the EU/US Trade agreement for the NHS – as for all our public services.
He's planning a trip to Brussels to lobby for the exemption of the NHS and of healthcare in general from that agreement.images.jpeg


The EU/US Trade agreement is the sort of backstairs activity which escapes the public eye. Mention it to most people – or even worse its acronym the TTIP - Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – and their eyes will probably glaze over.

But it's the single most important threat to our NHS – as to all our public services. It threatens to set in the stone of legal framework the competition which the LibDem/Tory Coalition has been introducing and pushing.

It will, for example, mean the threat and likelihood of legal challenge to any attempt to prevent predatory US Health providers getting access to the NHS.

The University and College Union recently produced a briefing paper. It argued that such an agreement ‘would make it hard for any government with a mandate to reverse liberalisation and privatisation to do so without being sued by foreign investors under the terms of the Treaty. So whatever voters actually wanted, the trade treaty would place major barriers in the way of any government giving expression to their democratic will.’

This is a fundamental threat to our public services, but also to our democracy.

Our Yorkshire and Humber Labour MEP, Linda McAvan is alert to its dangers and is gearing up against it.

Andy Burnham is  working actively to limit it.
As he told the New Statesman
‘we need to say that health can be pulled out.
In my view, the market is not the answer to 21st century healthcare. . . . .
I’m going to go to Brussels soon and I’m seeking meetings with the commission to say that we want, in the EU-US trade treaty, designation for healthcare so that we can exempt it from contract law, from competition law.’

Alex would be committed to working against it if elected in 2015.

"This LibDem/Tory Coalition's time in office has seen the rapid advance of marketisation into our public services. The EU/US Trade agreement would cement their legacy in place - with dire results for the NHS and more widely.

It is essential that we gain exemption for the NHS to protect our universal right to free healthcare which is a cornerstone of post war British society. When I think of the phrase 'We are all in it together' the universal provision of health is exactly what I think of and the coalition are trying to negotiate it away by the backdoor. 

As the commitment and principles of people like Linda McAvan and Andy Burnham show, the political parties are NOT all the same."

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