The UK Procurement Bill and Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill going through Westminster seek to allow Tory ministers the power to amend devolved Scottish procurement legislation without the consent of Holyrood.
And the SNP is claiming it shows the Tory Government would “do likewise” with Scotland’s NHS in future trade deals that include health. The SNP says this means it could be opened up to US-style private corporations.
In 2020 and 2021, the UK Government blocked attempts to stop the NHS being opened up to trade deals and refused to allow the devolved Parliaments the power to veto the involvement of their own health services.
SNP MSP Gillian Martin said: “Both of these bills are the thin edge of wedge and demonstrate that our NHS in Scotland faces grave consequences at the hands of the Tories and their Brexit catastrophe.
“With the power that these bills bestow on Westminster ministers, our health service faces being opened up to the highest bidder in any future trade deals covering health services.
“Far too often now the UK Government is producing legislation that undermines devolution by bypassing the scrutiny of a democratically elected Scottish Parliament.
“This is a power grab by the Tories, a party that Scotland has rejected for nearly a lifetime. The alarming rate that they are doing this shows they have no respect for devolution in Scotland and I fear for what their actions could do to our health service in Scotland.
“The Tories have already started their own assaults on the NHS in England and these bills could open up Scotland’s NHS to private companies, and there will be little we can do to stop this as long as we remain under Westminster control.”
Martin added: “Labour’s position is also ridiculous. The NHS is facing staffing problems because Brexit has cut the workforce. Keir Starmer has shown he is more concerned about the ‘Red Wall’ than what is best for the NHS.
“The Tory obsession with leaving the EU shows how damaging they are for the NHS, and lack of scrutiny from their Labour opposition is just letting them away with it.”