Campaigners in Angus streets over TTIP

Campaigners were out on the streets of Brechin and Arbroath to highlight what they’ve described as a “secretive deal” with the USA.

A day of action was organised as part of a nationwide effort by campaign group 38 Degrees over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Campaigners wanted to speak to locals about the dangers of this deal, and how it might affect their lives if it isn’t stopped. They say the deal could force NHS trusts across the country to open up to American private healthcare providers, and could allow big businesses to sue the government if British laws dent their profits.

Angus campaigners were on Clerk Street in Brechin and Arbroath High Street’s pedestrian precinct, joining thousands of others across the UK in taking action, to urge people to sign a petition against TTIP.

Phyl Spence, a 38 Degrees member from Angus, said: “On the surface TTIP looks like a deal to encourage free trade, but this deal is so secretive that it is being conducted behind closed doors. One of the most worrying aspects of TTIP is called ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) , where foreign investors could sue the host country if its laws might “harm their interests.

‘‘What kind of situation might harm the investor’s interests? It could be, for example, that the host government decides to change its nuclear policy after a nuclear accident, a ban on toxins in food, the nationalisation of an industry , a decision to put cigarettes in plain packaging or an increase in the living wage. The challenge would not be made through normal courts - the process comes with its own lawyers. I think TTIP is one of the biggest threats to democracy we have ever known.”

Amy Lockwood, campaigner at 38 Degrees, said: “38 Degrees members will be pushing TTIP, the dangerous trade deal, out of secret negotiating rooms and into the public spotlight.”

“People in Angus have a right to know that this dodgy deal is being hashed out behind their backs. From the NHs to schools, to the food on our tables, TTIP could tear up the public services and protections that people fought hard for. ‘‘Saturday’s day of action was about the people of Angus sending a message to corporate lobbyists: we won’t sit back while you re- write the rules of democracy”.