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NHS must be exempted from TTIP

Disaster-looms-for-NHS_large-e1308062563878-2The only way to stop the US-EU trade deal (euphemistically called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP) from interfering with the freedom of an incoming Labour government to reverse NHS privatisation is by demanding that the UK government vetoes TTIP unless health services are clearly and fully exempted. At present they are not, and the government minister Lord Livingston has confirmed that the NHS will be covered by TTIP.

As a result a US investor such as Blackrock or Invesco) profiting from NHS privatisation could use TTIP to sue the UK government if it could prove to a panel of 3 trade lawyers sitting in secret, one of which would be chosen by the investor, that its rights under TTIP had been breached. That could occur if, in the words of the EU’s Chief Negotiator, there was a claim”for example by expropriation without compensation, a denial of justice or manifestly arbitrary treatment”. In such cases the tribunal would be able to award unlimited compensation and there is no right of appeal.

So what is the likelihood of an NHS investor taking such action. One can only judge in the light of what has already happened. The Slovakian government had 30 million of its foreign assets seized by Achmea because it renationalised its health insurance system. The German government were sued by the Swedish company Vattenfall using investor protection to demand €3.7bn in compensation for lost profits when Merkel decided to phase out nuclear energy aftedr the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The Spanish government was hit by several investor protection cases after it changed its solar energy policy. And the Australian government was attacked by Philip Morris to claim that its new laws on cigarette packaging were tantamount to expropriation.

It’s not as though TTIP protection is needed for NHS investors. The EU’s negotiator has himself admitted that “Member states are already required to respect applicable domestic and EU law regarding for example the conditions for early termination of contracts”. In that case, why is investor protection needed at all for trade involving the US and EU?

10 Comments

  1. William Jones says:

    Whilst of course the NHS does need to be excluded from TTIP,this does not go far enough.TTIP per se should be scrapped as far as the UK is concerned.Of course it will impact on the ability of any future Government to possibly reverse any Privatisation of Health Services.However it will also impact more generally on the ability of a future Government to legislate in fields like the Environment and Minimum Wage to name but two.

  2. David Ellis says:

    There must be no TTIP full stop. It a neo-liberal fire storm and even if the NHS was exempted it would be like surviving a nuclear war: pointless.

  3. David Pavett says:

    I am worried that articles like this are damaging to the campaign against TTIP. Making the case against TTIP purely in terms of the threat to the NHS leaves open the possibility of the case for the treaty overcoming objections by includingbsome specific protections (real or otherwise) for health services. If so that would still allow a major increase in the power of big business over national goverments to go through. It would be a far bigger inroad into national sovereignty than Maastricht ever was. This points has already been made several times on Left Futures but Michael Meacher does not seem to have noticed. It would be helpful, and in the spirit of democratic debate, if he would join the debate by responding to this point.

  4. jeffrey davies says:

    never have a government done so much damage to its people but if this gets signed then the british people will be in court taken there by the yanks oh ones going to say not true then look to aussie country they were taken to the courts 4times by a fag company over its having a white packet no logos whotsoever yet they did lost that one but three others cases to go for them looks like its coming here its never good to sell your silver off but signing away your rights is whot this lot will do putting all in the stocks jeff3

  5. John Reid says:

    Isn’t there a 3rd world country lumbered with TTIP being sued by a private health company as that country has a NHS and they’re saying its against their law to not left that Countries Health service CE hwve competition? Enbelievable

  6. Pauline Sharp says:

    As a recently retired MH nurse, I have been out this weekend joining in with other like minded people as regards the disgraceful saga that is TTIP. I want to hear much more from the Labour party on this. The threat to our NHS enticed the majority of people to sign the petition. It is absolutely outrageous. Keep out of it full stop.

  7. Rod says:

    The Labour Party supports TTIP. A vote for Labour is a vote for TTIP.

    “It [TTIP] was almost universally approved on both sides of the House, with only one Labour and one Tory MP expressing scepticism or opposition.”*

    * https://www.leftfutures.org/2014/03/why-is-labour-not-opposing-ttip-which-enables-multinationals-to-override-democratic-laws/

    1. David Melvin says:

      If you oppose TTIP vote Green. You’ll only get weasel words from Labour.

    2. Jon Lansman says:

      Rod – it’s not true that “The Labour Party supports TTIP. A vote for Labour is a vote for TTIP.”

      The majority of the Labour Party and the trades unions (including TUC) oppose TTIP. Some on the right support it. The leadership opposes some parts (including the inclusion of the NHS and other public services) but supports others. The matter is unresolved and unsatisfactory. Voting Labour, however, remains the only way to stop it.

  8. William Jones says:

    I can only repeat that we should not support any part of TTIP.I have yet to see anyone put forward even the slightest credible argument for any part of it.

    There was a vague defence of it put forward by a Tory trade spokesman talking about a “possible” foothold that UK Companies could gain in the US domestic market.Even that was a flimsy defence at best.

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