Lewes protesters fear trade deal is risk to NHS


Lewes area residents are set to gather tomorrow (Saturday October 11) at Cliffe Bridge to take part in a day of action against an international trade deal which they say could put the NHS at risk.

The campaigners, members of campaign group 38 Degrees, will be asking local MEPs where they stand on the controversial trade deal between the EU and US.

The agreement – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – would force the NHS open to competition from American private healthcare providers.

The deal is also set 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.

More than 180,000 people have signed a 38 Degrees petition against the deal.

This local event coincides with a Europe-wide day of action to increase pressure on the EU to fix or scrap the pact.

Lewes residents will meet at 10am at Cliffe Bridge.

This follows a local protest in the Cliffe precinct on 30 August 30, when campaigners from Lewes joined 10,000 people nationwide to collect signatures for the 38 Degrees petition against the deal.

Gretel, who was at the last day of action in Lewes, said: “We need to keep the protest going to prevent TTIP being ratified.

“Our purpose this Saturday is to join in solidarity with other activists across Europe and also to form a local group to continue campaigning locally.”

David Babbs, executive director at 38 Degrees, said: “It’s no surprise that thousands of people are taking to the streets again against this terrible deal.

“38 Degrees members are spreading the word to force TTIP out of backroom negotiations and into the spotlight.

“The NHS is being used as a bargaining chip in a decision made behind closed doors. It’s time for MEPs to answer our concerns and explain exactly what they’re going to do to stop this.”