Campaigners were out in force over an international trade deal which they fear could sound the death knell for the NHS.
Green Party North Lincs members were in Epworth supporting the 38 Degrees national day of action. The agreement – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – would force NHS trusts across the country to open themselves up to competition from American private healthcare providers.
Natalie Hurst, the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Brigg and Goole, along with colleagues visited the town centre spreading the word about the trade deal, currently being negotiated.
The action was organised by national campaign group 38 Degrees and more than 8,000 campaigners around the country were out in force to raise awareness by talking to the public, handing out leaflets and asking people to sign a petition.
The pact also includes provisions to allow multinational businesses to sue the government if British laws dent their profits. Critics say this would expose the government to lawsuits if it tried to take privatised health services back into public ownership or enact legislation to protect public health.
More than 184,000 people have signed a 38 Degrees petition against the deal.
Natalie Hurst said: “I am passionate about protecting our NHS from creeping privatisation and the TTIP is a serious threat. I am also worried that if the TTIP goes ahead powerful multi-national corporations will be able to sue the UK government for implementing laws they don’t like or that they think threaten their profits, under the proposed Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). This threatens our democratic rights and will leave the taxpayer to foot the bill, for compensation pay outs to multinationals, as well as the legal costs.”
Blanche Jones, campaign director at 38 Degrees, said: “It’s no surprise that thousands of people are taking to the streets about this terrible deal.
“Our NHS is being used as a bargaining chip in a decision made behind closed doors. By talking to others about the deal, 38 Degrees members will be forcing this issue out of backroom negotiations and into the spotlight. Now politicians of all parties need to explain exactly what they’re doing to get it fixed or scrapped.”