From Anthony Mangnall MP
Note: This email has been lightly edited, without loss of intent or meaning but, more importantly, marked-up so you can understand just what's going on (in red).
From: Anthony Mangnall MP <email@example.com>
Date: 25/01/2021 16:06 (GMT+00:00)
Subject: Re: NHS Protection Amendment (Case Ref: AM5328)
Dear Ms Gunnigle,
Thank you for contacting me about the Trade Bill and new clause 17.
I am pleased to have been recently elected to serve on the International Trade Committee. This means a crucial part of my job is to scrutinise the Government’s trade policy. The Committee does so conscientiously and without fear or favour.
I recognise the strength of feeling about the provisions seeking to protect the NHS in new clause 17 which was debated in the House of Commons last year and the more recent amendment 11 which was tabled in the House of Lords. However, for what I believe are sensible and practical reasons, I did not support the amendments.
It is important to bear in mind that the Trade Bill is a continuity Bill. The powers within the Bill could not be used to implement new free trade agreements with countries such as the US. Instead, the Bill only allows for trade agreements that we have been party to through our EU membership to be transitioned into UK law.
I also want to be clear that no future trade agreement will be allowed to undermine the guiding principle of the NHS: that it is universal and free at the point of need. I welcome the Government’s clear and absolute commitment that the NHS will be protected in any future trade agreement. Indeed, the price the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table and nor will the services the NHS provides. This was a commitment in the manifesto on which I stood.
I also want to stress that Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) does not, and cannot, force the privatisation of public services or oblige the Government to open the NHS to further competition. There is also yet to be a successful ISDS claim against the UK and nor has the threat of potential disputes affected the Government’s legislative programme.
As an independent member of the Word Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), the UK is free to decide what procurement is covered under the agreement. Ministers have made clear that the UK’s GPA coverage does not and will not apply to the procurement of UK health services. Indeed, health and social care services are not, and will not, be included in the UK's market access schedule to the GPA, meaning that they will not be opened to GPA competition.
I hope this response has provided a measure of reassurance and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Anthony Mangnall MP for Totnes and South Devon