by the canary
The Conservative government have blocked access to legal documents that may show the impact of a controversial ‘free trade’ agreement on the NHS.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, known as TTIP, is a US-EU trade deal currently under negotiation, and is avidly supported by the likes of David Cameron and Barack Obama.
The blocked legal documents, campaigners have cautioned, may contain the extent to which, under TTIP, private NHS contractors could sue the government for introducing policies that negatively impact their profits.
The Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is the most controversial element of TTIP. It allows corporations to sue governments or public bodies before an arbitral tribunal, for policies that are perceived as harmful to their profits. An ‘arbitral tribunal’ is an international hearing, out of the courts and behind closed doors, which decides how much money these companies should get.
The supposed motive is to encourage foreign investment, despite there being no empirical evidence for this (there is no ISDS in any trade agreements Brazil has, or between the US and China).