Four Scottish local councils become “TTIP Free Zones” in the space of two weeks
Date: 11 November 2015
In the last two weeks four local councils in Scotland have passed motions opposing the controversial trade deal between the EU and the USA known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
TTIP has been widely opposed because of the threat it poses to the NHS and other public services as well as well as vital regulations to protect health, the environment and workers’ rights, and the introduction of secret ‘corporate courts.’ But it is more specifically relevant to local councils because it could threaten the ability of councils to specify local suppliers for their contracts and services and could open up the procurement process to competition from multi-national companies.
The local councils who voted against TTIP recently are:
They join Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland who have already passed motions against TTIP in the past year, and 20 other local councils across the UK. Campaign group Global Justice Now has been coordinating a campaign encouraging local people to work with their councillors to declare their local area as TTIP Free Zones.
TTIP is currently being negotiated between the EU and the USA, with the next round of negotiations scheduled for Brussels in January. In October an EU-wide petition against TTIP reached 3 million signatures. At the end of September all 56 SNP MPs and the one Scottish Labour MP gave their support to a Westminster parliament motion that described serious concerns with TTIP.
Liz Murray, head of Scottish campaigns for Global Justice Now said:
“TTIP, the EU-US trade deal, could be the biggest threat to democracy of our generation. This is true at both national and local levels. Councils could be forced to favour big American corporations over local sustainable businesses in their procurement. They could also be challenged for specifying local suppliers of services such as buses and for denying planning permission for environmentally damaging developments in their local area.
It’s great to see Councils across Scotland responding to public opinion by opposing this toxic trade deal. It would be even better to see the Scottish government acknowledge the depth of public feeling about this toxic trade deal and declare an equally strong opposition to TTIP for Scotland as a nation.”
Scottish Labour, at its autumn conference at the end of October passed a motion opposing TTIP outright whereas the SNP passed a much more limited motion at their party conference in October, that really only highlighted risks to public services. Nicola Sturgeon then wrote to David Cameron calling on him to ensure that the NHS is fully exempted from TTIP and if that is not the case then for the UK government to use its veto at the European Council to prevent TTIP progressing.
TTIP Free Zones are not restricted to the UK. In Austria, Germany, France and Belgium there are significant numbers of TTIP Free Zones being declared by local authorities. When the TTIP negotiations take place in Brussels they are happening in a municipality which is itself a TTIP Free Zone. There are 39 no TTIP councils in Spain and a good covering in Northern Italy.