Councillors express trade deal fears

Owen Thompson MP (third from left) recently met with local campaigners to hear their concerns about the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
Owen Thompson MP (third from left) recently met with local campaigners to hear their concerns about the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

Midlothian councillors have delighted protestors by expressing fears over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

At last week’s meeting of Midlothian Council, the SNP Administration accepted an amendment from Green councillor Ian Baxter to their own motion which resulted in a the council adopting a very strong position opposing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), currently being negotiated between the United States and Europe.

The original motion, while expressing opposition to TTIP, stressed only the risk to local services and the NHS in particular.

However, the amendment ensured the council resolved to oppose all aspects of the proposed treaty, concentrating on the impact on local authorities. It also instructs the council to take action to campaign actively against TTIP and to join with other councils and organisations which are doing so.

Councillor Baxter said: “Although the impact of TTIP on public services is important, I was keen that we didn’t lose sight of all the other implications, particularly where they might affect how the council operates.

“We may for example lose any right to source local produce as well as seeing environmental protection or food standards watered down.”

The move by Midlothian councillors was welcomed by protesters concerned about the controversial deal.

Liz Murray, head of Scottish campaigns for Edinburgh-based social justice organisation Global Justice Now said: “TTIP could threaten the ability of local councils to specify local suppliers for their contracts and services, and could open up the procurement process to competition from multi-national companies.

“We’re delighted that Midlothian councillors have recognised this and responded to public concern about TTIP by opposing this controversial trade deal and showing that they are willing to stand up for local democracy.

“Midlothian is the fourth council in Scotland to pass such a motion, and one of more than a thousand across Europe who are against TTIP.”

Protestors recently handed in a petition to Midlothian MP Owen Thompson calling on the institutions of the EU to stop the negotiations with the USA on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).