The NHS – Not Safe in EU Hands

On Thursday, when you vote, remember that much of the NHS has been privatised, competed over, marketised, fragmented and slashed to the core. If we Vote Leave, we have a chance of reversing this, whereas staying in the EU means that even a government with a large electoral mandate to re-socialise the NHS will be acting illegally in EU terms.

TTIP brings deregulation, privatisation and allows multinationals the ability to sue sovereign states and overrule democratic mandates of elected governments. It is the culmination of neoliberal policies and anti-democratic processes already seen in the EU. Under the EU rules public services must be provided in a “transparent and non discriminatory” manner, have to be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union and opened to private businesses throughout the EU and beyond. EU competition laws must be applied. Privatisation is demanded by the EU.

A previous attempt to clean those stubborn public sector areas was the the Bolkenstein Directive of 2006. It committed countries to establish a single market in services within the EU. The commercial director of the NHS, Ken Anderson said in January 2007, ‘My personal conviction is that once you open up NHS services to competition, the ability to shut that down or call it back passes out of your hands. At some point European law will take over and prevail.’

Spending cuts in the NHS are tied into the 1997 EU Fiscal Pact, which orders fines of countries that have government deficits of more than 3% or public spending that is over 60% of the national Gross Domestic Product. Some rather complicated calculations are now in place to determine the actual levels of deficit and public spending. Never-the-less the principle remains, that EU bureaucrats and business interests can dictate to even a progressive government with a large mandate – a lesson learned in Greece.

As far back as 1975 Barbara Castle pointed out that the Common Market would bring about a market in the NHS; she had bothered to read and make an honest assessment of the treaty of Rome and regulations and decisions emanating from Brussels.

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