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UNITE general secretary Len McCluskey hit out at David Cameron yesterday after he bragged that he could easily bat down “very weak” arguments against pro-privatisation treaty TTIP.
Following talks with other leaders of the G20 states the Tory leader claimed that the US-EU free trade deal would not drive down environmental and food standards because “two organisations” would be involved as watchdogs.
And he claimed: “There’s no threat, I believe, from TTIP to the National Health Service and we should just knock that on the head as an empty threat.”
But Mr McCluskey (pictured) demanded solid assurances that the NHS would not face privatisation under the treaty, which is currently being drawn up behind closed doors.
“If TTIP is not a threat to the NHS then why doesn’t David Cameron just make an explicit commitment to use his veto in Europe to get the NHS out of TTIP?” he said.
“The French have excluded their film industry from this trade agreement, so why won’t this government step in to defend our health service?”
Mr Cameron claimed it “nonsense” that the NHS would be damaged by the deal.
But he would only vow that “it will remain free at the point of use” — fuelling fears of an open season for health profiteers to run services by contract if the service is left defenceless.
Three US health outsourcing giants are already shortlisted to operate Britain’s biggest ever NHS privatisation — the £2 billion contracts for cancer and end-of-life care services in Staffordshire.
Critics of TTIP warn that a clause allowing companies to sue sovereign governments if their profits and investments were affected by future policies would render current privatisation plans near irreversable.
Mr McCluskey added: “David Cameron is riding roughshod over the people of Britain by refusing to listen to their concerns over the threat this trade deal poses to the NHS.
“When you see the links that the Tory Party has to private healthcare you have to ask: ‘Who is this government really working for’?”
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