Thank you for contacting me as Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Altrincham and Sale West.
Attached is my response to your questions.
1. Are you in favour of Britain renewing its Trident nuclear weapons system ?
2. Do you think our country is right to be involved militarily in the Ukraine, even if in a training and support role?
33. Do you give full weight to the urgency of minimising global warming? In the light of this, do you accept that much of the known fossil fuel reserves should be left underground, especially the most environmentally damaging such as tar sands and Arctic oil?
YES AND YES
44. What is your attitude to fracking?
5. Many people can’t afford to heat their homes over the winter. We can’t afford to ignore climate change either. How would you tackle fuel poverty in a long-
C. ECONOMICS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
6. Do you think our economy can or should go on growing indefinitely?
ONLY SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership? If so why; if not, why not?
I WORK FOR THE NHS AND CAN OFFER A FULLER REPLY TO THIS QUESTION AS IN BODY AOF EMAIL
8. Do you intend to help shrink the yawning gap between rich and poor and check the extraordinary concentration of wealth in very few hands? If so, how?
YES BY LOWERING TAX THRESHOLD AS LIB DEMS HAVE PROMOTED IN GOVERNMENT, PUPIL PREMIUM AND OTHER REDISTIBUTIVE MEASURES
9. Do you recognise that low wages and benefits, plus harsh and arbitrary stoppage of benefits, is causing serious and unjust hardship? Do you want to restore the safety net which ought to protect British people from serious want?
YES AND YES
Below is my reply about TTIP.
I agree it’s vital that our NHS is protected and Liberal Democrats have a strong record in this area.
Liberal Democrat ministers have listened to people’s concerns on the issue of TTIP and the NHS. We pushed for reassurances from the EU that TTIP will have no effect on the powers of the NHS at a local level.
In January, after determined negotiations, we now have a clear guarantee from the EU that member states’ rights to provide public services directly, are enshrined in TTIP explicitly, including the case where outsourcing had previously taken place.
A letter from EU Trade Commissioner Malmstrom received by Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable specifically mentions the case of the NHS in Britain as an example of the rights of member states that are over and above TTIP.
The letter categorically states that under TTIP, “member states do not have to open public health services to competition from private providers, nor do they have to outsource services to private providers.” Also that “EU member state governments (at all levels, from central government to local authorities) can continue to manage their public services however they see fit.” Vince wants the Commissioner’s assurance reflected in the drafting of any TTIP treaty.
Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable has been absolutely clear at all times that we will protect the NHS as a top priority. Local GPs – who we put in charge of commissioning services – will continue to decide what is best for patients.
On Investor protection clauses -
We want to keep a reformed ISDS on the table, but we need a package of substantial reform. It is already a big win for Britain that the EU has been consulting and has paused negotiations on ISDS to take account of the reforms people are pressing for which include for example transparent, open tribunal processes to deal with complaints about them being held “behind closed doors”; changes in the treaty text so that future loss of profits cannot be included in the calculation; and using an improved ISDS in TTIP to update earlier, less developed ISDS arrangements in other trade deals to put right the gaps in those agreements.
While I accept, like previous governments, that there may be a role for private sector provision of NHS services, I strongly believe that the NHS should always remain free and be based on patients’ needs and not on their ability to pay. That’s why I’m delighted that Liberal Democrat ministers have successfully pushed for extra investment in the NHS. We’ve secured an additional £2bn funding for the NHS beginning in April. We’ve also called for the Conservatives and Labour to match our ‘£8 billion a year by 2020’ funding commitment.
I will always resist any attempts by other parties to privatise the NHS. For example, Liberal Democrats have stopped the Conservatives’ privatisation plans and we reversed Labour’s policy of allowing private companies to ‘cherry pick’ lucrative NHS contracts and get special favours. The Labour Government paid private companies £250 million for operations they didn’t perform and in Government, Liberal Democrats have made sure that can never happen again.
Since becoming candidate I have been inundated with emails. If I had parliamentary staff I would respond to every email promptly.
If you would like me to respond in more detail, or if you have another question, please contact me again with your further query and I promise to do my best to respond.
Our Liberal Democrat website can provide answers to most questions about policy issues: http://www.libdems.org.uk/
As your candidate in 2010 I responded thousands of queries with a personal email. I will endeavour to provide the same level as commitment for the General Election in May 2015.
Thanks for contacting me about TTIP and the NHS.
Cllr Jane Brophy
Altrincham and Sale West PPC