Only a third of the public believe Boris Johnson is telling the truth on the NHS and trade deals, 28 October 2019

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

A new opinion poll [1] has found that the British public have serious concerns about the NHS and trade deals with the USA.

The poll, commissioned by campaign group We Own It [2], and carried out by Survation, found that the public don’t believe Boris Johnson’s claims that the NHS is not “on the table”. Just a third of the public believe Boris Johnson is telling the truth, whereas 45% of the public think he is not. This is despite both Boris Johnson and Donald Trump trying to allay concerns about the impact of a trade deal on the NHS.

Additionally, the poll found that 57% of people are either “very concerned” or “quite concerned” about the impact a trade deal with Donald Trump could have on the NHS.

The poll also showed that the overwhelming majority of the public don’t want the NHS included in any trade deals with any other country. 71% of people said they didn’t think the NHS should be included in trade deals, compared to just 16% who said that they did.

Survation also asked people which parties they trust to ensure the NHS is a publicly funded and publicly run institution. Just 18% said they trusted the Conservative Party, compared to 31% for Labour – the highest for any party.

The polling comes as a coalition of more than a dozen organisations – led by Keep Our NHS Public [3] and We Own It – have come together to push the government to protect the NHS from trade deals. [4] They claim that the only way to do this is by ending all privatisation in the NHS. [5]
Ellen Lees, campaigns officer of We Own It said:

“This poll shows clearly that the public understand just how big of a threat a US trade deal is to our NHS. And it shows that they’re firmly against the idea that our NHS could be sold off bit by bit to Donald Trump and American private healthcare giants.

“Because the private sector already has a major role in the NHS, it is automatically on the table in a trade deal – no matter what Boris Johnson says.

“That’s why it’s absolutely vital that the government ends the privatisation of our NHS once and for all. That’s the only way we can protect it from being sold off in a trade deal.”

Tony O’Sullivan, co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public said:

“This poll backs our NHS as a public service in line with nearly 900,000 who’ve signed the ‘Keep our NHS out of US trade deals’ petition.

“The NHS has faced six years of destructive top-down disorganisation. Legislation to return the NHS wholly to the care and responsibility of public service and ending privatisation is the only cast-iron defence against a Johnson-Trump deal.

“Only this will guarantee for our children the future of the NHS as a public service for all.”

The poll has been published shortly after parliament voted against an amendment to the Queen’s Speech proposed by Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary that sought to end NHS privatisation. The amendment was supported by Labour, the Green Party, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and a series of Independents. The Conservatives and the DUP voted against the amendment – along with a group of Independents – most of whom were until recently in the Conservative Party. The Liberal Democrats abstained. [6]

Alongside this vote, We Own It and Keep Our NHS Public have been coordinating a public campaign in which constituents are asking their MPs and parliamentary candidates to sign a pledge committing to end NHS privatisation. So far, over 60 MPs have signed the pledge including Labour, the Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SNP MPs. [7]

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For additional information and further comment, please contact Chris Jarvis:

christopher@weownit.org.uk 07923 271 431

Notes to editors:

[1] For full data tables please contact christopher@weownit.org.uk

[2] We Own It is the campaign for public ownership of public services. More information www.weownit.org.uk

[3] Keep Our NHS Public is a campaign group working for a publicly owned and funded NHS. www.keepournhspublic.com

[4] The full list of organisations in the coalition is: Keep Our NHs Public, We Own It, Change.org, Global Justice Now, OurNHS, Health Campaigns Together, Trade Justice Movement, 999 Call for the NHS, Socialist Health Association, Public Matters, Transnational Institute, New Economics Foundation, Doctors for the NHS, NHS Support Federation, Campaign for the Reinstatement Bill, Join the Fight for Our NHS

[5] Full details here: https://weownit.org.uk/blog/heres-how-really-get-our-nhs-table

[6] A full list of how MPs voted on the amendment can be found here: https://commonsvotes.digiminster.com/Divisions/Details/727?byMember=false

[7] A list of all MPs and parliamentary candidates who have signed the pledge is here: https://weownit.org.uk/nhs-trade-pledge

This list is regularly updated as new MPs and parliamentary candidates sign.