Locals launch campaign to protect the NHS from secretive trade pact

31 August 2013

Members of Rutland and Melton Green Party joined members of campaign group 38 degrees this Saturday at Oakham market place to spread the word about a dangerous international trade deal which they say could put the NHS at risk.

The campaigners based in a route master double decker bus parked near the market place in Oakham and armed with leaflets spent the day collecting signatures for the petition to stop the deal, handing out leaflets to passers by and

They joined almost 10,000 people across the country who took part in the national day of action.

The agreement – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – would force NHS trusts across the country to open themselves up to competition from American private healthcare providers.

The pact also includes provisions to allow multinational businesses to sue the government if British laws dent their profits. Critics say this would expose the government to lawsuits if it tried to take privatised health services back into public ownership.

More than 125,000 people have signed a 38 Degrees petition against the deal.

This week, a YouGov poll commissioned by 38 Degrees found that 42% of people say that they don’t trust the government to protect the NHS.

And 39% of those surveyed by YouGov said the treaty would be bad for the UK – three times as many as those who say it would be good for the country (13%).

Mark Pluciennik, who joined the day of action at Oakham Market place, said “We were pleased to see how many people supported the anti-TTIP view, wanted to know more, and were interested to take the leaflet away to read with them. I am also delighted to report that we gathered more than two pages of signatures for a petition, which shows just how strongly people feel about these kind of issues when they get the chance to have their say. Top of the list that people mentioned to me were fears about TTIP making it easier to push ahead with further privatisation of the NHS.”

The secretive deal must be stopped in its tracks argues the Green Party, the only party committed to people over profit policies. The TTIP deal is backed by the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and Ukip.

Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:

“The proposed deal threatens to blow apart the power of our democratic decision making. TTIP is a huge threat to hard-fought-for standards for the quality and safety of our food, the sources of our energy, workers’ rights and our privacy.

“The harmonization of food standards is particularly concerning. Under the deal food products include chemically washed poultry, livestock treated with growth hormones, and genetically modified crops – all allowed in the US – could be sold in the UK.

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