Hundreds of residents have signed a petition against a trade deal which they argue will ‘threaten the NHS’.
More than 1200 residents from East Worthing, Lancing and Shoreham are calling for Prime Minister David Cameron to protect the NHS from the deal, which they say could cause ‘irreversible privatisation’.
A further 500 homes are also set to display an estate agency style board bearing the message ‘NHS out of TTIP’.
The TTIP, or The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is a deal to cut tariffs and regulatory barriers which would make it easier for companies on both sides of the Atlantic to access each other’s markets. The deal, which would mostly affect pharmaceuticals, finance, clothing and energy, is being negotiated by the EU and the US.
Many residents are also campaigning against CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union.
A spokesman for the People’s NHS South East said: “ It is the largest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and threatens to make privatisation of the NHS irreversible by giving the profits of corporations’ precedence over national lawmakers.
“TTIP would grant American multinationals, or any firm with American investors, the power to sue the government if it ever attempted to take privatised health services back into public ownership.”
Carl Walker, National Heath Action Party candidate for East Worthing at the 2015 general election and campaigner supporter said: “There is no doubt TTIP and CETA are a direct challenge to the democratic process in the UK. While this government obsesses over minor changes to migrant benefits, it misses the major trade deal currently being brokered which will let transatlantic companies challenge and overturn laws that protect us.
“The NHS is a key case in point. Despite promises to the contrary, private healthcare companies who are already picking off large parts of the NHS via the back door will use the behind closed doors arbitration panels to overturn the public ownership of our health services.”
The government is arguing the deal will boost the UK economy and help UK businesses, especially smaller businesses, export to the US.
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