NHS & Trade

Our NHS is facing a huge new threat. The governments eyeing up new trade deals with countries like America – and Theresa May is refusing to rule out putting the NHS on the negotiating table. [1] That could mean US private healthcare companies taking over parts of our NHS, and getting new powers to sue the UK government to demand more NHS contracts. [2]

But we’ve got a chance to stop it. A law going through parliament right now would let the government do these kinds of trade deals in secret, and stop MPs and the public from having a say on them. MPs get a vote on this new law in the next few weeks. We don’t have long to convince them to stand up for their right to have a say on trade deals that could put our NHS at risk.

Already over 260,000 of us have signed a petition against the plans for closed door trade deals. But more people need to get involved if we’re going to stop this threat to the NHS. Every extra signature shows MPs that the public is against trade deals being done in secret.

If you think MPs and the public should get a say on trade deals that could risk our NHS, add your name to the petition today. It takes less than a minute to sign:

SIGN THE PETITION

Experts have been warning for years about the danger our NHS could face from these kinds of trade deals. Other trade deals America has – like their one with Canada – has something called an “investor-state dispute settlement” system, which allows private companies to sue governments if their laws would limit the companies’ profits. That could mean private companies suing our government for the right to run NHS services – even if MPs didn’t want to let them. [3]

Getting trade deals right might not sound like something that affects you day to day. But it couldn’t be more important. Good trade deals can boost the economy, create jobs, and improve opportunities for all of us. [4] But when trade deals are done badly, it can be a disaster. It could mean lost jobs, lower standards for food, and threats to our public services. [5]

Together we’ve made the government back down on things like this before. When the government wanted to use so-called “Henry VIII” powers to pass new laws after Brexit in secret, hundreds of thousands of us spoke out and forced the government to change its mind. [6] And now MPs will be given a vote on all our laws after Brexit. Let’s make sure the people we choose as our voices in parliament have a say on our future trade deals too.

 

NOTES:
[1] Huffington Post: Theresa May Refuses To Rule Out The NHS Being Part Of UK/US Trade Deal:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/pmqs-theresa-may-nhs_uk_5a7afd58e4b07af4e81fc180
[2] This is because of something called “investor-state dispute settlement.” It’s already part of some trade deals America has with other countries, and when it was proposed as part of negotiations of an earlier trade deal, known as TTIP, leading lawyers warned it could pose a “real and serious risk” to our NHS.
The Guardian: TTIP deal poses ‘real and serious risk’ to NHS, says leading QC:
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/22/ttip-deal-real-serious-risk-nhs-leading-qc
Huffington Post: Why Trade Deals are Privatising Government:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ruth-bergan/why-trade-deals-are-priva_b_4239396.html
Full Fact: TTIP and the NHS:
https://fullfact.org/europe/does-ttip-mean-privatisation-nhs/
[3] See note 2.
[4] 38 Degrees members have been drawing up a people-powered vision for what trade should look like after Brexit. Together we’re building a big, bold, positive vision that millions of us can support. Over 8 million votes have been cast on dozens of different ideas – and our plan is coming together. You can see the results so far below:
38 Degrees: DIY Brexit:
https://diybrexit.38degrees.org.uk/
[5] One of the new trade deals the government is thinking of joining is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP):
BBC News: TPP: Could UK really join Pacific trade group?:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42549541
Financial Times: UK looks to join Pacific trade group after Brexit (paywall):
https://www.ft.com/content/73943036-efa9-11e7-b220-857e26d1aca4
Below are some examples of what has been revealed about the TPP deal for countries like Australia:
The Guardian: TPP’s clauses that let Australia be sued are weapons of legal destruction, says lawyer:
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/nov/10/tpps-clauses-that-let-australia-be-sued-are-weapons-of-legal-destruction-says-lawyer
Médecins Sans Frontières: Statement by MSF on the Official Release of the Full Text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement:
https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/statement-msf-official-release-full-text-trans-pacific-partnership-trade-agreement
Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network: The TPP: devils in the detail:
https://bit.ly/TPP-Devils-in-the-detail
[6] 38 Degrees Petition: Give the public and parliament more say on new laws:
https://link.38degrees.org.uk/delegated_powers
BBC: Brexit bill: Government loses key vote after Tory rebellion:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42346192
The Independent: Government defeated in key Brexit vote:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-live-updates-theresa-may-eu-withdrawal-bill-tory-rebels-pmqs-latest-news-jeremy-corbyn-votes-a8106971.html