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Oct 30th, 2018

Something to be proud of

By Trish Murray

Yesterday, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the government’s spending plans for the year ahead. [1] It’s not hard for 38 Degrees-ers like us to spot things we achieved together, on lots of the campaigns we’ve worked on.

It’s not all good news. There’s a lot more work to do. But hundreds of thousands of us have been involved in these campaigns. By putting pressure on the government, we’ve helped fewer British families face extreme hardship, secured desperately needed money for our hospitals and forced a crackdown on addictive gambling.

Read on for news about NHS funding, the Pensions dashboard, Amazon’s tax bill, and curbs on addictive gambling machines…


Together, we’ve been been pushing for the money that was promised to our hospitals and GP surgeries. Yesterday it was locked into the Budget. [2] It means doctors and nurses will be more able to care for patients like us, instead of worrying about budgets at breaking point.

It wasn’t the small, fair tax rise for the NHS that we’ve been calling for. Instead, the government used unexpected extra money from tax that they hadn’t already banked on. [3]

When the government found this extra money, they put it into the NHS rather than anywhere else. Hundreds and thousands of us who emailed MPs, sent our views to the Chancellor, ran huge billboard campaigns and chipped in for expert research helped push the NHS to the top of their to-do list – and delivered the money that was desperately needed.

Universal Credit

Yesterday, life got a little less hard for families across the country on Universal Credit. Philip Hammond announced £1 billion to soften the very worst bits of the new benefit system. [4]

Campaign groups across the country, backed up by 400,000 38 Degrees-ers, have been challenging the government on Universal Credit since the beginning.

130,000 of us signed an emergency petition to Philip Hammond earlier this month, thousands of us emailed our MPs, and hundreds of us shared our personal stories of how we’ve been affected. Our hard-hitting report was splashed across the papers. [5]

The extra money softens the worst effects of the switch to Universal Credit. But there’s still more to do to make sure it doesn’t leave families struggling to get by.

Amazon tax

Big tech giants like Amazon are going to be forced to pay more tax on the profits they make – and it’s thanks to people like you. [6]

38 Degrees-ers have been calling on the government to create a special new tax for huge online giants, to level the playing field between them and our struggling high-street shops, as well as providing much needed cash for our public services.

A whopping 275,000 people signed the petition, thousands of us submitted evidence to the government’s budget consultation.

And when it looked like Philip Hammond was wavering, 40,000 of us emailed him directly to help push this over the line. [7]

Pensions dashboard

The government committed to getting the pensions dashboard off the ground. It means we’ll be able to keep track of all our pensions in one place, stopping us losing out on thousands of pounds. [8]

When news came out that the government was considering scrapping the dashboard, over 200,000 of us jumped into action.

We signed open letters, emailed our MPs and our research, which proved how much people could lose out on without a pensions dashboard, was plastered all over the press. [9]

The government saw our messages in their inboxes and in the media – and yesterday they acted.

Fixed-odds betting terminals

People will no longer be able to lose £100 every 20 seconds on addictive gambling machines. Now, people will only be able to bet £2 at a time. The changes will happen in October 2019, not as soon as we’d hoped for, but it will help stop lives being ruined by these addictive machines. [10]

Up against powerful gambling lobbyists, this campaign was an uphill battle from the start. But hundreds and thousands of us got stuck in anyway.

We sent tens of thousands of emails to the ministers in charge. We added our names to a huge petition that got delivered to the government, And our people-powered undercover investigation, that was paid for by 38 Degrees members, was splashed across the papers.

And in the eleventh hour, when it looked like the campaign could be lost, thousands of us jumped in and put pressure on the Chancellor to deliver. And it worked. [11]

That’s FIVE different ways in which our efforts were visible yesterday.

None on us, acting alone, would have been able to do achieve any of this. But the beauty of 38 Degrees is that there are millions of us. And when we all get stuck in together, it can add up to enough pressure on politicians to make a real difference.

There’s so much more to do to make the UK the fair country we want it to be. It’s plain unfair that yesterday’s Budget handed the biggest tax breaks to the wealthiest. [12] Too many families are still struggling to get make ends meet. [13] And schools across the country are still struggling to get by.

But at least we know that in 38 Degrees there are millions of people of us willing to work together. We’ll keep speaking up to make Britain a better place. And yesterday proves that when we get involved, we can make things better.

Thank you for getting involved, and congratulations for the difference you’re making,



38 Degrees is entirely funded by donations from people like you. Thousands of people chipping in regularly means we know we can take on the long fights that really matter. Will you consider setting up a regular donation so we can be even more ambitious about the fights we still have left to win?

You can set up a secure regular donation by clicking the link below:

[1] BBC: ‘Summary of Budget 2018: Key points at-a-glance’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46017125

[2] Financial Times: Hammond confirms additional £27.6bn a year for NHS by 2024:
The Budget: “This (Budget) includes funding for a new multi-year budget for the NHS until 2023-24, following the Prime Minister’s June 2018 statement that the NHS budget would increase by £20.5 billion a year in real terms by 2023-34.” https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/752202/Budget_2018_red_web.pdf

[3] see note 2

[4] Universal Credit: what the Budget means for the controversial benefits system
“This means 2.4 million working parents and people with disabilities will be better off by £630 per year.”

Universal Credit: what the Budget means for the controversial benefits system

The Budget: “The measures in this Budget … (offer) greater protection for people moving from legacy benefits and increasing the UC Work Allowances by £1,000 from April 2019. This means that 2.4 million households will keep an extra £630 of their income each year. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/752202/Budget_2018_red_web.pdf

[5] Daily Mail – “Dozens of Tory MPs including Iain Duncan Smith could lose Commons seats amid backlash over Universal Credit, study warns” https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6319429/Dozens-Tory-MPs-including-Iain-Duncan-Smith-lose-seats-Universal-Credit.html

[6] Times: Budget 2018: Hammond targets tech giants with a digital profits tax For Amazon “Amazon (will pay) more than £40 million. Earlier this year … they paid £4.5 million” https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/budget-2018-hammond-targets-tech-giants-with-a-digital-profits-tax-gm9xhmkk9

Guardian: Hammond targets US tech giants with ‘digital services tax’

[7] 38 Degrees petition: Don’t give Amazon a tax break

[8] Telegraph: Pension dashboard gets £5m Budget boost
“Savers took a step closer to having all their pensions at their fingertips today, as the Government announced a £5m boost for the “pension dashboard” project and a pledge the online tool will include state pension data.”

[9] Express: Pension scandal: Millions of savers risk LOSING £15k, campaigners warn

[10] The Racing Post: FOBT stake cut set for next October as Hammond increases remote gaming duty https://www.racingpost.com/news/fobt-stake-cut-to-come-next-october-as-hammond-increases-remote-gaming-duty/351527

[11] 38 Degrees petition:

[12] Resolution Foundation: Who gains most from the Chancellor’s income tax cuts next year? The richest tenth of households are overwhelmingly the biggest winners https://twitter.com/resfoundation/status/1056969156741029889

[13] BBC: ‘Squeeze continues’ for lower income families’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46028792

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