Feb 23rd, 2018
By Becca McCarthy
Our NHS is facing a huge new threat. The government’s eyeing up new trade deals with countries like America – and Theresa May is refusing to rule out putting the NHS on the negotiating table.  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. 
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 the law in the next few weeks – and that’s where we come in. It’s up to us to convince MPs not to give up their right to have a say on future trade deals, especially ones that could put our NHS at risk.
Here’s the plan to protect the NHS. We can create a huge public outcry to make sure the government’s plans for closed-door trade deals are stopped. We can ramp up the pressure on MPs, and hire experts to come up with an alternative plan for trade deals that’d give us a proper say. If we pull it off, we could change this law and keep our national health service safe from profit-hungry corporations.
This can work, but it’ll mean spending some money. Please can you help fund the campaign to stop our NHS being put at risk by secret trade deals? You can make a secure donation below:
Here’s what your donations will help pay for:
- public polling, splashed across the media showing the public are against the plans
- hiring experts to write an alternative version of the new law that would give MPs and the public a proper say
- launching a campaign to get the Scottish and Welsh governments to block trade deals that are made in secret
- investigations that prove good trade deals need public scrutiny
- campaigners to keep on top of the latest developments in parliament around the clock
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. 
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.  But when trade deals are done badly, it can be a disaster. It could mean lost jobs, lower standards for food, and environmental protections being thrown out the window. 
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.  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.
If we want to have even a chance of stopping the government bargaining away our NHS, the first step is to make sure that we have a say on the trade deals that could put it at risk. Will you chip in so we can stop the government from doing them in secret?
 Huffington Post: Theresa May Refuses To Rule Out The NHS Being Part Of UK/US Trade Deal:
 This is because of something called “investor-state dispute settlement.” It’s already part of some trade deals America has, 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:
Parliament: Trade Bill 2017-2019:
 See note 2
 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:
 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?:
Financial Times: UK looks to join Pacific trade group after Brexit (paywall):
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:
Médecins Sans Frontières: Statement by MSF on the Official Release of the Full Text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement:
Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network: The TPP: devils in the detail:
 BBC: Brexit bill: Government loses key vote after Tory rebellion:
The Independent: Government defeated in key Brexit vote:
38 Degrees Petition: Give the public and parliament more say on new laws: