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At the time of writing there are 41 TTIP Free Zones in the UK, including eleven in Scotland. A modest amount compared with some of our fellow members states, but a figure that is growing.

With a Conservative government, which is one of the loudest cheerleaders for TTIP and CETA in the EU, we are working steadily to create a blanket of opposition in local councils. The prospect of creating opposition to corporate centred trade deals in every section of society is an obvious need of our more general campaign. Its true in the UK, and I guess everywhere else in the EU that the political parties have a food-chain, a training ground for future members of Parliament and the European parliament and that is in local government. To win arguments against TTIP, CETA and TISA at that level is a chance to turn the heat up on more senior representatives at national and European wide levels.
We currently suffer one of the more voracious austerity regimes in Europe. With cutbacks to local government funding happening at a shocking level, local government is being sacrificed on David Cameron’s altar to neo-liberalism. Our smallest parts of government are getting considerably smaller, both in terms of funding and of power.

TTIP and CETA will compound this attack on local democracy and councillors and mayors of all parts of the political spectrum are realising this.
Local government union Unison, Global Justice Now and online activist network 38 Degrees are combining to make the TTIP Free Zone campaign bigger, better and stronger. We aim to have 100 councils on board by the end of 2016.

In Scotland, where the spirit of resistance to Westminster continues after the independence vote of last year there are a number of councils who have taken a stand. A recent question in Parliament revealed that the Westminster Government would defend any ISDS or ICS case taken against them as a consequence of the actions of the Scottish Government, and then pass on all legal costs to the Scottish parliament. The Scottish government would foot the bill but have no say in how the case was defended. This has predictably angered many north of the border.

We have a growing indignation in the UK against corporations and the super-rich having everything their own way. The campaign against their trade deals is part of that indignation. It would seem the strength is growing and our TTIP Free Zones are set to increase decisively.

Guy Taylor, Global Justice Now

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