ANGUS MACDONALD MSP SIGNS PLEDGE CALLING FOR VETO IF NHS NOT PROTECTED FROM TTIP
Thursday, 19 February 2015 12:53
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has joined other SNP MSPs today to pledge to fight to protect Scotland’s NHS by calling on David Cameron to use his veto to protect the NHS from the effects of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
SNP MSPs led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today signed Unite’s pledge to demand that David Cameron vetoes TTIP unless the NHS is “fully and clearly exempted” from the agreement.
Commenting when signing the pledge, SNP MSP Angus MacDonald said:
“Protecting the NHS is rightly one of the most important priorities of people in Scotland and the duty we have to protect it is something the SNP takes extremely seriously.
“That is why SNP MSPs have today pledged that if TTIP does not explicitly exempt the NHS from the agreement, then we will call on the Prime Minister to veto the agreement.
“Scotland’s NHS as a publicly owned and operated institution is too important to be put at risk from TTIP. It must be protected and the SNP will always do everything in our power to ensure that happens.
“In May, the people of Scotland have a wonderful opportunity to secure meaningful influence and power in Westminster. Every SNP vote is a vote for a party that only has one key goal - to best represent the people of Scotland. So the more SNP seats there are, the more we’ll be able to ensure that Westminster does not lose sight of the things that are most important - starting with the NHS.
"Protecting Scotland’s NHS is at the heart of our Westminster campaign. SNP MPs in a hung Parliament will use their clout to protect our budget from Westminster's agenda of austerity, patient charging and privatisation.
“Protecting Scotland’s NHS will always be our priority and I will be proud to sign this pledge today.”
Legal advice commissioned by the union Unite has raised concerns that public health providers could be exposed to private "cherry picking" under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated between the US and the European Union.
The European Commission says TTIP will not open public health services to competition from private providers, and UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has described concerns about the NHS as "misplaced".
But Scottish ministers remain concerned that TTIP "may threaten the public ownership of the NHS and could undermine the democratic decisions of the Scottish people".
Unite commissioned Dr Kyriaki-Korina Raptopoulou, an expert in EU law and healthcare, to study the Commission's available documents on TTIP.
She has concluded that concerns about the NHS "should not be dismissed as myths or scaremongering", and recommended "a robust carve-out" of NHS services from the TTIP deal.
Angus MacDonald MSP is the latest politician to sign a pledge by Unite calling on Prime Minister David Cameron "to make a clear statement to the European Trade Council that the UK will veto TTIP unless the NHS is fully and clearly exempted from the agreement and to use the veto if that exemption is not achieved".
Unite Scottish regional secretary Pat Rafferty said: "The message from Scotland to David Cameron is loud and clear, use your veto to get the NHS out of TTIP.
"The leaders of Labour, SNP and the Scottish Greens have all signed a pledge to call on the UK Prime Minister to use his veto to protect the NHS from TTIP. Once again the Liberal Democrats and the Tories have been left in the cold.
"The people of Scotland are united against the NHS being part of a US trade deal. It is time for David Cameron to put the interests of our NHS before the interests of US companies and investors."
Dr Raptopoulou said: "I have undertaken a detailed examination of the relevant documents released by the Commission. I have also drawn on pertinent international agreements including the draft Canada-EU agreement (CETA), which has been touted as a precursor to the TTIP.
"The concerns of the British people about the potentially negative impact of the TTIP on the NHS are clearly well founded, as is shown by my study.
"The TTIP generates a number of serious concerns, the UK Government and the European Commission should take them seriously. They should not be dismissed as 'myths' or 'scaremongering'."