Brighton council: never mind the bins, America wants to trash our services

Bin strike last summer in Brighton

Bin strike last summer in Brighton

Councillors in Brighton and Hove want to block a controversial trade agreement between Europe and the United States.

Supporters of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership say it will deliver an extra £98 billion a year to the European Union and £78 billion a year to the US.

But at the full council meeting at Hove Town Hall in Norton Road on Thursday, Green and Labour councillors called for the chief executive to write to Dr Vince Cable to express concern over the effect of the agreement on public services in Brighton and Hove

The Greens says the agreement threatens public services such as the NHS, and could undermine regulations that protect workers.

Ollie Sykes, who represents Brunswick and Adelaide ward, proposed the motion.

He  said: “The proposed deal destroys democratic decision-making. TTIP is a huge threat to our high standards for the quality and safety of our food, the sources of our energy, workers’ rights and our privacy.

“Under the deal, food products allowed in the US, such as chemically-washed poultry, could be sold in the UK – even though it’s been previously banned here. US companies will even have the right to sue governments in secret courts if politicians try to reverse privatisation.

“This secretive deal could see corporate greed trump public need at all levels of government. It must be stopped.”

But Councillor Graham Cox, who represents Westbourne ward in Hove slammed the move.

He said: “I join with many residents in wondering why on earth Green Party Councillors are spending time and council taxpayers money on motions asking the chief executive to write to someone, rather than making sure the rubbish gets collected from the streets of Brighton and Hove where they allegedly run the council.

“This is simply an attack on free trade by a party which wants to reintroduce protectionism and opposes economic growth. While I am no great fan of the way the EU uses trade barriers to prevent, for example, African farmers competing on a level playing field with their subsidised French counterparts, I am supportive of measures which enable more trade to take place between the US and Europe.

“Rather than adopting the ‘UKIP/Green Party stop the world I want to get off’ approach of protectionism, we should be embracing free trade with the whole world. Selling our products in an open market benefits Britain and those with whom we trade, and anti-free trade motions such as this will make our country poorer.”