UKIP Leader Backs Reports on NHS and TTIP

The leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has repeated the view that the NHS could effectively be privatised should voters choose to stay in the European Union.

Nigel Farage is particularly concerned about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); a much criticised trade deal between the United States and Europe.

Farage believes that this would enable the NHS to be privatised “through the back door”, repeating the opinion of many economists.

Speaking on his weekly phone-in on LBC Radio, Farage asserted that the TTIP agreement would enable “giant American corporations to bid for contracts within the National Health Service”.

Farage added: “There are many people that fear that this could be the privatisation of the National Health Service through the back door. So the trade union movement, who have been fairly uncritical of the EU for the last 25 year or so, are suddenly up in arms about this.”

However, those who support the idea of a publicly-funded and accountable health service have also pointed out some of the hypocrisy in the remarks of the UKIP leader.

Farage had previously stated in 2012 that the NHS should be funded “through the marketplace of an insurance company”.

And last year he said political leaders would “have to return” to the debate about funding the NHS through an insurance-based system run by private companies.

But the position of Farage has been largely supported by research into the trade agreement.

Legal analysis instigated by the Unite union already concluded that the TTIP agreement would inevitably lead to the privatisation of elements of the NHS, and that this would ultimately be irreversible.

There is a massive political debate, of course, taking place on the European Union, and trade agreements such as TTIP are central to this ongoing dialogue.

But considering that both of the two major political parties have indicated that they will support the ‘yes campaign’ for European integration, it is certainly likely that the UK will ultimately remain part of the Eurozone.

Farage has been a frequent critic of the whole concept of the European Union, describing it as economically disastrous, bureaucratic, anti-democratic and unaccountable.

Indeed, UKIP itself is largely defined by its opposition to the European Union, and was initially viewed as a single-issue party, and to some degree, protest group.

Nonetheless, it does appear that those who supports the NHS should be weary of the implications of TTIP and other similar arrangements, especially in a climate of health service financial vulnerability.


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