The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade agreement that is presently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.
In Scotland this became an issue at the referendum when the Scottish Government suggested that if health services in England are privatised then in Scotland we could be forced to put those same services up for competition as it would be viewed legally as us (Scotland) being part of the UK state. Finance Secretary John Swinney said; “Given the vital importance of the NHS to the people of Scotland and concerns about the impact of TTIP on the NHS, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing has written to the Secretary for Health requiring cats-iron assurances that, whatever the approach to the provision of health services in the rest of the UK, TTIP will not affect the Scottish Government’s ability to determine how NHS services are provided: that there will be no obligation to open the NHS in Scotland to private providers as is happening in England; and that decisions of the Scottish Government in respect of the NHS would not be open to potential challenge through investor-state dispute settlement”.
The SNP Scottish Government has however repeatedly stated before and after the referendum that there are many benefits for Scotland if TTIP goes ahead. Mr Swinney said; “The Scottish Government believes that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could deliver economic benefits for Scotland and has been engaging with the UK Government to maximise the benefits of TTIP for Scotland and to ensure that concerns about TTIP are addressed”.
Many constituents and Trade Unions have raised with me their concerns around this agreement and I am continuing to work to make sure all the information on the issues is available and I have raised within the European and External Affairs Committee of the Scottish Parliament on many occasions and we are about to start taking evidence from the different interests to gain a better knowledge of all the issues.
I raised the issue of TTIP with the Italian Ambassador to the UK when he came to the committee recently and his response was that no public services would be included within the agreement.
I then this week raised the issue when the committee had a session with five of the six members of the European Parliament who represent Scotland. The coverage of this is below.
Given the level of concerns being raised with me on this issue I will continue to publish information and any work I am doing on this. Please feel free to contact me if you would wish to discuss further.
You can watch the evidence session on TTIP from this weeks European & External relations Committee below: