TTIP: Healthy profits, but what about people?
点击量： 时间：2017-09-23 06:01:20
By John Middleton (Image: Glyn Thomas Photography/Alamy Live News) THE UK Faculty of Public Health will shortly publish a manifesto recommending a range of policies designed to protect and improve public health. These include a sugar tax, a minimum price for a unit of alcohol, a ban on junk food advertising to children and a living wage. All are evidence-based. All could be torpedoed by TTIP. TTIP rides roughshod over national law, undermining the entitlement of states to legislate to protect their citizens. We believe it will damage public health and make prospects for future laws protecting and promoting health less likely. A lot has been written about implications for publicly funded health services, like the UK’s NHS. The fear is that TTIP will open them up to private commercial interests which will cherry-pick the profitable areas of patient care, leaving the most vulnerable patients and least attractive services at risk. The government could request that the NHS be exempt from TTIP, but it has shown no inclination to do so. Why would it? Its stated objective is to open the NHS up to competition. Assurances from European ministers that the NHS is protected are groundless; under the Investor to State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process (see chart and “TTIP: How the world’s largest trade deal affects you“) any company that feels its NHS pickings are not adequately protected could cry foul, take recourse to the dispute process and claim compensation. TTIP also threatens public health by potentially weakening legislation such as consumer safety standards, workers’ rights and environmental controls. It could also exert a “chilling” effect on future legislation in these areas, with the ISDS making governments think twice about attempting to pass new laws. If a future UK government chose, say, to accept the evidence and implement a minimum unit alcohol price, multinational drinks companies could demand compensation for lost profits. We are also concerned that TTIP will widen existing health inequalities. Evidence suggests the benefits of major economic change are not spread equally. There will be big winners – and big losers. Widening income inequality over the past 40 years has been accompanied by wider gaps in health and life expectancy. Economic inequality causes health inequalities; poverty kills. TTIP proponents argue that without economic growth our situation would be worse all round. But the whole idea that growth for its own sake is a good thing needs to be seriously challenged. GDP does not buy happiness. It is right that there is a growing disquiet about these sinister and clandestine negotiations. If you are not already an advocate for TTIP, it is unlikely the benefits will be coming your way. If so, you should reject it and campaign vigorously to ensure it never becomes a reality. Read more: “TTIP: The science of the US-European trade megadeal“ This article appeared in print under the headline “If the profits are healthy…” More on these topics: