TTIP: Johnstone signs NHS pledge and urges tougher stance

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, is renewing her call for the Scottish Government to toughen its stance on TTIP, the controversial EU-US trade deal which threatens jobs, wages and food standards.

SNP ministers support the principle of the deal, as does Labour. It aims to remove barriers to multinational corporations and could enable them to sue governments over profits.

UK trade minister Lord Livingston gives evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s European committee today (19 Feb), while a protest will take place outside Holyrood by campaigners concerned at the threat to the NHS from TTIP. Alison Johnstone has signed the People’s NHS pledge calling for the health service to be exempted from any deal.

Lord Livingston has said the UK Government is “totally committed” to TTIP, and that “the benefit to industry is enormous”. However, a range of charities and unions have warned against the deal, with Global Justice Now highlighting the threat to local employment and public health.

AJ at conf 2014Alison Johnstone MSP, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, said: “TTIP is a corporate power grab being negotiated in secret, threatening our NHS and putting at risk jobs and wages. Although Scottish ministers say they oppose the inclusion of the health service in TTIP they support the principle of the deal.

“While it’s perhaps no surprise that the UK Coalition Government is prepared to roll out the red carpet for big business, the mixed position of the Scottish Government is causing serious concern among people I’ve spoken to in recent months. There’s a real danger that this deal could make it easier for corporations to drive wages down and make employment even less secure. It could also weaken protections against the imports of GM foods and hormone-produced meat.

“The mounting public concern cannot be ignored.”