Last night York Green’s had the opportunity to present a motion to City of York Council. After discussion by members in January it was agreed that we would put a motion concerning TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).
TTIP is a very dangerous treaty between the EU and the USA which would allow companies to sue countries if they believe that policies would affect their future profit. For instance, US companies might have sued the UK when it banned asbestos for many billions of pounds of lost profits. We have seen Phillips suing the Australian government through a similar treaty for their requiring cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging.
The Green Party is firmly opposed to TTIP in its current form, and especially to the part allowing foreign, and only foreign, companies to sue governments through special courts that are secret and unaccountable and made up of corporate lawyers who work for the companies suing the government.
Before the meeting there was a protest outside the Guildhall with members of the Green Party, the People’s Assembly and York Against TTIP where we handed out leaflets explaining the issue to passers-by. There was considerable support with a quite a number of people stopping and asking for information and expressing their support.
The Council meeting itself had considerable other business that came before our motion including a resolution on the community stadium and on the Public Interest Report into the inappropriate payments made to senior council officers appointed as directors of City of York Trading Ltd. (There was an issue about performance related pay as well, but the main issue was that they were paid at all and without the proper Council approval).
Unfortunately, when our motion came to be discussed, very late in the proceedings at about 21:50 the Liberal Democrats proposed a procedural motion to refer our motion to a scrutiny committee. This was supported by the Lib Dems and the Tories and means that the motion was not discussed.
We will need to press the scrutiny committee to review the motion quickly so that it can come back to the next meeting of Council for proper consideration.