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Voters 'oppose NHS in trade deal'

Most voters in the constituencies of the Prime Minister and Health Secretary are opposed to the NHS being included in a controversial new trade deal between the European Union and the United States, according to a new report.

A poll of 2,000 voters in David Cameron's Witney seat and Jeremy Hunt's South West Surrey constituency, showed that four out of five didn't want health services to be part of the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The Unite union said its survey showed "massive opposition" to the trade deal, which opponents have claimed will lead to the privatisation of NHS services.

The Government has strongly denied the charge, insisting the deal will give a huge boost to British businesses, cut red tape, and create jobs.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "Even in these Conservative constituencies there is massive opposition to the NHS being part of the US trade deal. David Cameron's and Jeremy Hunt's constituents expect them to act and veto the NHS from TTIP.

"The NHS unites this country, it is the single most important local issue for voters. The Prime Minister has cut himself adrift from public opinion by refusing to listen to the public. They are demanding that he veto the NHS out of TTIP. Unite has polled 17 Tory seats and in every case voters oppose the NHS being part of TTIP.

"David Cameron has claimed that there is 'no threat' to the NHS from TTIP. If this is true, why doesn't Cameron just remove the NHS from the trade deal? Other countries have vetoed sectors from the trade deal. The Government has failed to give one decent reason why the NHS should be in this trade deal.

"Britain won't be fooled by vague assurances over the NHS, the people of this country do not believe it's right for the NHS to be part of an American trade deal."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "To be absolutely clear, TTIP cannot force the UK to privatise public services and this Government would not allow TTIP negotiations to harm the NHS."


From Belfast Telegraph