NHS ‘off the table’ in US trade talks, as UK publishes negotiating objectives

The NHS will not be on the table during post-Brexit trade talks with the United States, the UK has spelled out, as it published negotiating objectives for a deal.

Ministers were also committing to “ensure high standards” and protections were maintained for consumers and workers, while “not compromising” on environmental, animal welfare and food standards.

The 184-page document published by the Department for International Trade on Monday predicts that a free trade agreement could “potentially” create an increase in trade with the US of approximately £15.3 billion in the long term.

UK negotiators would work to ensure that measures are in place to prevent hikes in medicine prices for the NHS, as the Government said the service “will not be on the table”.

“The NHS is not, and never will be, for sale to the private sector, whether overseas or domestic,” the document said.

It added: “Throughout the agreement, ensure high standards and protections for UK consumers and workers and build on our existing international obligations.

“This will include not compromising on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.”

Trade Secretary Liz Truss maintained a tough stance ahead of the negotiations, warning the UK will “strike (a) hard bargain” and is prepared to “walk away if we need to”.