A CONTROVERSIAL European Union-US trade deal would be Thatcherism’s “ultimate triumph” if left unaltered, according to an SNP candidate.
Chris Stephens, who is standing in Glasgow South West, told the party’s conference the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which aims to remove barriers between the EU and the US, was a “dangerous attack on democracy”.
Supporters say the trade deal would make it easier to buy and sell goods and services and open up markets, but critics fear it poses a threat to public services, particularly the health service.
The Scottish Government does not have a formal role in the ongoing negotiations but has made representations to the UK Government and the European Commission on the issue.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has joined calls for the NHS in Scotland to be protected from private healthcare providers in the US.
The SNP conference in Glasgow passed a resolution expressing concern about a lack of transparency in the negotiations and calling for public services to be protected.
Mr Stephens said: “Due to the minimal scrutiny and lack of transparency the current proposals for TTIP represent the most dangerous attack on our democracy and the key role of Government in improving our public services and our living and working conditions.
“If left unaltered, TTIP would represent Thatcherism’s ultimate triumph.
“The highest of standards in goods and services lowered, the lowest of standards in health and safety, the eradication of social and employment rights.
“Voters and their elected governments should decide the role and function of public services, not faceless directors in boardrooms.”
SNP MEP Alyn Smith added: “TTIP is work in progress but it’s valid for us to say that we are unhappy about the content and we are unhappy about the progress thus far that we’ve seen.
“It’s being negotiated in secret and that’s not in itself unusual in a trade deal but TTIP is not a regular trade deal. TTIP has way, way more significant implications for Scotland’s trade and Scotland’s democracy.
“I do not see sufficient safeguards within TTIP to keep Scotland’s provision of public services safe.
“Until we see specific exemptions on the face of the TTIP document that specifically cover Scotland’s public services we won’t back TTIP.”
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