Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the NHS
Thank you for writing to me about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the NHS.
I can assure you the Government is committed to an NHS that is there for everyone who needs it, funded from general taxation and free at the point of use. TTIP will not affect how the NHS decides who is best to provide its services.
Negotiators from the United States and the European Union have confirmed that it will continue to be for EU member states to make decisions about whether and to what extent they involve the private sector in the provision of public services. The EU’s chief negotiator on TTIP has stated that EU countries will continue to be free to decide how they run their public health systems. A letter from the EU trade Commissioner, Celia Malstrom, to the former UK Trade Minister, Lord Livingston, confirming this is published here: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2014/july/tradoc_152665.pdf
The Health Select Committee also asked the EU Chief Negotiator to answer the questions being raised. The reply could not be clearer. Sadly this categoric rebuttal of the claim that TTIP endangers the NHS has not prevented further scare-mongering. Please see a copy of the reply here: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/Health/Health-Committee-TTIP-correspondence.pdf
Any investment provisions included in TTIP will strike the appropriate balance between protection for UK investors abroad, and ensuring the Government is not prevented from acting in the public interest in areas such as public health and the NHS.
I believe this partnership is a once in a generation opportunity. It would be the largest bilateral trade agreement in the world and would bring significant economic benefits in terms of jobs and growth, with the potential to deliver £10 billion to the UK economy each year. Consumers will benefit from increased choice and lower prices and reducing the duplication of regulation will benefit small companies trying to sell into transatlantic markets.
British businesses exporting overseas, including to the US, are essential to the future of our economy. I have hosted a meeting for Newark businesses looking to grow and create jobs through export with inspiring presentations from two local firms who are entering the US market, one as a leading architecture and design practise and the other the market leader for hearing devices. Both of these firms, creating well-paid, skilled jobs in Nottinghamshire need the best environment for the export of their goods and services and one highly beneficial advance would be free trade between Europe and the United States. It’s important for us to remember that this deal has real consequences for local jobs, prosperity and for local entrepreneurs we need to support.
Transparency is important and while some aspects of the on-going negotiations must be kept confidential so the best possible deal for our economy, workers and consumers can be reached, I have been assured that the Government continues to raise the importance of transparency with the European Commission. The Government is also hosting regular meetings with organisations representing those with a particular interest in the deal.