Wisbech protest over threat to NHS

Protestors took to the streets of Wisbech to fight against a ‘secretive deal’ with the United States they fear will put the NHS under threat.

Fenland members of the campaigning organisation, 38 Degrees, rallied in the Market Place to raise awareness of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Campaigners say the deal – a proposed free trade agreement between the EU and the USA – could leave the NHS and other public services at risk of permanent privatisation.

The treaty would force NHS trusts across the country to open up to competition from American private healthcare.

Campaign member Sue Dockett, from Wisbech, said it would also allow private companies to sue the British Government if it passes laws which damage their profits, such as raising the minimum wage or putting a freeze on gas or electricity prices.

She said: “The British Government and the EU is trying to keep this deal secret but, it is so toxic, thousands of 38 Degrees members in towns across the country took to the streets to make people aware.

“The trade deal would hand over British sovereignty to large corporations that don’t like our laws and policies. For example, chemical giants could overturn our ban on insecticides that are believed to kill bees and the ban on GM crops and food and big US health corporations could prevent us stopping the privatisation of the NHS.”

More than 250 Wisbech shoppers signed a petition calling on the Government’s business secretary, Vince Cable, to get clauses which would create problems removed from the deal, or not sign it.

Iraq veteran Ken Rustidge, the local Labour party candidate for next year’s elections, was among those to sign the petition and 38 Degrees members are hopeful more local politicians will follow suit.