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Sheffield: Save our NHS

May 5th, 2015 by

On Saturday 2 May, just 5 days before the election, 38 Degrees members met in Sheffield City Centre for one final push on the ‘Save our NHS’ petition.

Save our NHS campaigning Sheffield

They were joined by the newest member of the 38 Degrees campaigning team – the Save our NHS ambulance – who did a brilliant job spreading the message and drawing the interest of passers by.

Sheffield with Save our NHS ambulance

In the two hours that we spent outside of Sheffield Town Hall we gathered an additional 300 signatures on the petition that calls on all MP candidates to commit to protect the NHS from privatisation, funding freezes and the dodgy trade deal TTIP. We also handed out hundreds of leaflets, badges and had hundreds more conversations with Sheffield locals about the importance of voting with the NHS in mind this election day.

Save our NHS Sheffield - May 2

Local 38 Degrees member Karen said: “It was good to be out with other 38 degrees members in Sheffield. The number of signatories we have collected over the past few weeks is amazing. I really hope that the petition has an impact and MP candidates sit up and listen. It was great having the ambulance there – really eye catching!”

Save our NHS Sheffield - 2 May

Find out more about the ‘Save our NHS’ campaign here.

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Lancaster said thanks

May 4th, 2015 by

Lancaster Thanks NHS

You think you’re immune to it all after a while. The campaigns, the stories, the hashtags, the slogans, all of it starts to become a bit forgettable. And then, when you’re on the verge of getting jaded and cynical about it all, people surprise you.

A giant card to thank the NHS could just be another stunt in the midst of a campaign that has seen all sorts of stunts from political parties and other groups. (#Edstone, I’m looking at you.) It could be just as hokey as those giant cheques you see on ads for the lottery, and just as meaningless.

But then the people get involved.

Thanks NHS Lancaster

They tell their stories, of what’s happened to them and their loved ones.

Thanks NHS Lancaster

And you start to see the difference the NHS has made to each life.

Thanks NHS Lancaster

And you remember that this is worth it. This isn’t about slogans, or stunts, or spin. It’s real. Real lives being saved and changed by having something this valuable.

Thanks NHS Lancaster

A health service that regards every life as equally valuable, equally worth saving, and equally worth bringing into the world.

Thanks NHS Lancaster

People care about this institution. Lots of people know what it’s done for them, what it’s still doing for everyone. They think it’s worth saving. And they want to thank the people who’ve helped them. And when you see those messages it’s impossible to be cynical or jaded. You just have to stand back and look at all those messages of gratitude.

Thanks NHS Lancaster

It’s worth saving, isn’t it?

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts, Stand up for the NHS

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38 Degrees members joined Mayday! Mayday! in Brighton and Hove

May 2nd, 2015 by

Mayday Mayday

On Saturday 2nd May a range of campaign groups in Brighton & Hove theatrically took to the streets to challenge the Government’s programme of austerity and highlight alternatives. Dubbed Mayday! Mayday! The People’s Fair, the creative street action had all the fun of a fair on International Workers Day.

The entertaining and thought provoking event featured street theatre, games and music to highlight the impact that cuts and privatisation have had on our lives.

38 degrees members made HMS NHS to rescue passers by from from privatising TTIP pirates.

Mayday! Mayday! was a celebration of our broad local movement of resistance and solidarity. The event was organised by Brighton People’s Assembly.

Mayday Mayday


Cameron-the-cuts-loving-Crab put in an appearance too. Don’t worry, these 38 Degrees members made sure to ask him to Save our NHS…

Cameron the crab who loves cuts



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Public spending: IFS report

May 1st, 2015 by

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is an independent organisation that researches economic issues. They’ve looked into and compared the political parties’ plans for public spending after the election.

This is the summary of what they found (the full document is here). We’ve highlighted some of the key parts relating to cuts.

You could also find out information using the BBC policy guide here.


• The financial crisis and associated recession resulted in a sizeable, and mostly permanent, increase in borrowing. While the coalition government has overseen a reduction in borrowing from a peak of 10.2% of national income in 2009—10 to 5.0% in 2014—15, whoever forms the next government still faces the task of finishing the job of reducing borrowing back to sustainable levels.

• This election briefing note considers the fiscal plans of the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (SNP). All four parties have said they would reduce borrowing in the coming parliament. None has managed to be completely specific about how much they want to reduce borrowing or exactly how they would do it. In analysing their policies, we have had to make some assumptions about their precise aims based on their stated aspirations and policies.

• All four parties’ plans imply further austerity over the next parliament. The Conservatives are planning a reduction in borrowing over the next parliament of 5.2% of national income, which would result in a surplus of 0.2% of national income by 2018—19. Labour have been less clear about their plans for borrowing, but their ambition to balance the current budget would be consistent with a smaller reduction in borrowing of 3.6% of national income, bringing it to 1.4% of national income by 2018—19. The Liberal Democrats are aiming for a borrowing reduction of 3.9%, to be achieved a year earlier (i.e. in 2017—18), while the SNP tax and spending plans imply a borrowing reduction of 3.6% of national income, but this would not be completed until 2019—20.

• The differences between the Conservatives on the one hand, and Labour and the SNP on the other, are substantial. The Conservatives need to find much more substantial spending cuts; Labour and the SNP would reduce the deficit and debt significantly more slowly.


• Under the Conservative plans, debt as a share of national income could be reduced from 80% of national income in 2014—15 to 72% by 2019—20. Under Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP plans, debt in 2019—20 could be more like 77%, 75% and 78% respectively. Under the assumptions we have made, debt would be about £90 billion more in 2019—20 (in 2015—16 terms) if Labour’s plans were implemented than if the Conservatives’ plans were implemented. Higher debt entails higher debt interest payments, and would potentially leave the government less well placed to deal with future adverse events.

• Since the Conservatives’ plans imply the greatest reduction in borrowing, they have the greatest job to do in terms of setting out how they would achieve this. Despite this, their detailed tax policies are a net giveaway of 0.1% of national income, their detailed social security measures would only provide a tenth of the cuts that they have said they want to deliver, and their commitments on aid, the NHS and schools would (relative to a real freeze) increase spending on these areas by 0.3% of national income.

• The Conservatives have squared this circle with an aspiration to raise 0.2% of national income (around £5 billion) from clamping down on tax avoidance, unspecified further cuts to benefits amounting to 0.5% of national income (about £10 billion) and a further real-terms cut to ‘unprotected’ departmental spending of £30 billion that was not mentioned in their manifesto. So the Conservatives need to spell out substantially more detail of how they will deliver the overall fiscal targets they have set themselves.

• Under the Conservatives’ plans, and assuming they find the social security cuts and revenues from tax avoidance that they have targeted, total departmental spending would need to be cut by 7.1% between 2014—15 and 2018—19. This would be a slightly slower rate of cuts than over the previous parliament (an average cut of 1.8% per year compared with 2.4% per year between 2010—11 and 2014—15). Departmental spending would fall to its lowest level in real terms since 2003—04. Outside of aid, the NHS and education (which have been promised various levels of protection by the Conservatives), other departmental spending looks to be facing cuts of 17.9% between 2014—15 and 2018—19. This would be on top of the 18.1% cut experienced between 2010—11 and 2014—15, leading to a cumulative cut over the whole period from 2010—11 to 2018—19 of 32.8%). These ‘unprotected’ areas include defence, transport, law and order, and social care.


• Labour have been much less clear about exactly what level of deficit reduction they want to achieve and by when, but they have given more detail of how they would achieve any deficit reduction. Their detailed measures would boost rather than reduce tax revenues. The cost of their protections for public services is about the same as the Conservatives’ — though they have not spelt out a commitment to increase NHS spending by as much as the Conservatives have. In practice, it might not be surprising were Labour to deliver increases to NHS spending of at least that scale. They have, however, been clear in their manifesto that some cuts to ‘unprotected’ departments would be required. 3 IFS Election Briefing Note 2015

• It looks as if Labour might need only relatively small cuts to departments other than aid, NHS and education spending — on top of the cuts already in place for 2015—16 — to bring about a balance on the current budget by 2018—19. But we can only say ‘looks as if’, because Labour’s pledge to ‘get a surplus on the current budget’ is vague. Given the coalition government’s investment plans, it would be consistent with any reduction in borrowing totalling 3.6% of national income or more. If a Labour government were to increase investment spending, their pledge would also be consistent with a smaller reduction in borrowing than that. Of course, if Labour are actually aiming for a lower level of borrowing than we assume, then they would have more detail to spell out in terms of how they plan to get there.

Liberal Democrats

• The Liberal Democrats are aiming for a tightening between that of Labour and the Conservatives. They have failed to spell out details of how they would achieve much of their tightening, relying heavily on unspecified measures to reduce tax avoidance and evasion (£7 billion) as well as some unspecified social security cuts (£2 billion). They are also relying on cuts to departmental spending (£12 billion), although — unlike for the Conservatives — these were mentioned in their manifesto. Their plans require real cuts to departmental spending of 3.4% between 2014—15 and 2017—18 (or 9.0% outside of the NHS, education and aid). This is predicated on their aspiration to raise 0.3% of national income (£7 billion) from highly uncertain measures to reduce tax avoidance and evasion by 2017—18. By the end of the parliament, the Liberal Democrats claim to expect to raise £10 billion — twice as much as the Conservatives and a third more than Labour — from such measures.


• The SNP’s fiscal numbers imply the same reduction in borrowing over the next parliament as for Labour, although the reduction in borrowing under their plans would be slower. They would cut less to start with but the implication of the plans they have spelt out in their manifesto is that the period of austerity would be longer than under the other three parties we consider. Their tax takeaways appear to be offset by their tax giveaways, while they would increase the generosity of the social security system. As a result, while the SNP would increase total spending in real terms each year, departmental spending would be broadly frozen between 2014—15 and 2019—20, and departmental spending outside of the NHS and aid could be facing a cut of 4.3%. The SNP’s stated plans do not necessarily match their anti-austerity rhetoric.

• Unfortunately, the electorate is at best armed with only an incomplete picture of what it can expect from any of these four parties.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

Broxtowe delivers 6,860 signatures on May Day

May 1st, 2015 by

Our 38 Degrees ambulance stopped off at Beeston, part of the marginal Borough of Broxtowe, today, May Day.

There were more than 25  people to greet us. By no means  all of them can be seen in the photo below:


The person speaking is Konnie Lloyd,  one of the many people who have worked over  6 months to collect signatures from people living in Broxtowe, who are deeply opposed to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal  being negotiated between the US and the EU Commission. that groups had already collected more than 5,000 petitions. which are  in the box she is holding, see below:



She called upon whoever is elected as an MP to  to know that Broxtowe respects democracy, loves the NHS, and wants them to oppose TTIP and the damage it will do.

In the event two of the candidates turned up. The David Kirwan, the Green Party candidate is to Konnie’s left and Nick Palmer, the  Labour Party candidate, is to her right. Nick Palmer said that the good thing about 38 Degrees is that it focuses upon the issues, and forces politicians to take notice, and yet it steers clear of party politics.

One noticeable absentee was Anna Soubry, although to be fair the candidates didn’t receive much notice.
Adding together the two petitions we have so far collected  at least 6,860 signatures.

Whoever wins and whatever coalition is formed 38 Degrees will continue to campaign around the issues that we all care so deeply about. And we will also discuss what new campaigns we could open up.
In addition to campaigning we will also be setting up a local group. Do come along and join in.

  • Thu 14th May 2015, 7:00pm
  • The White Lion, 24 Middle Street, Beeston
  • /events/2250

The upstairs room will be  booked. Coffee, tea and soft drinks will be paid for.


Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts, Stand up for the NHS, TTIP

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NHS Campaigners Return to Royal Cornwall Hospital

May 1st, 2015 by

Cornish NHS campaigners returned to Treliske on Thursday, this time taking to song to express their opposition to the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust Board’s privatisation plans.

It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
There’s no Health Service anymore
An it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
The N.H.S went out the door


The reworking of Dylan’s classic Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right was penned by members of the 38 Degrees Truro and Falmouth group, and warns of the consequences of NHS privatisation.

It ain’t no use in thinking it’s all right, babe
When investors take their slice
An it ain’t no use in thinking it’s all right, babe
When the patients pay the price

Over 9,300 names have now been collected on the ‘Campaigns by You’ petition, started by a 38 Degrees member from Truro, that calls on the RCH Trust Board to stop the privatisation of NHS departments at the hospital. A certificate with the current petition total was presented to Board members at a public meeting following the demonstration.

Attendees at the meeting were told that the Board has “agreed to look again at the Managed Equipment Service option alongside a full outsourcing model (for Pathology) and will now make a final decision on our preferred approach at the June 2015 Trust Board meeting. Discussions also continue on the market test of the Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD) and Cornwall Information Technology Service (CITS).”


The Managed Equipment Service option would see department staff remain as NHS employees while a private company takes on responsibility for all equipment used in the department. The Trust Board argue that Pathology equipment at the hospital is in desperate need of updating and say that in the absence of adequate government funding, private investment is the only viable option. NHS campaigners responded by highlighting the fact that Cornwall’s NHS is severely underfunded compared to other parts of the country. They argue that the solution rests not with private companies but in securing fairer government funding for the NHS in Cornwall.

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Our ambulance starts at Rother Valley

May 1st, 2015 by

After a few mechanical hitches our grand 38 Degrees ambulance tour started on Thursday at 10 am at North Anston  in the Rother Valley Constituency, which covers the south and east of Rotherham down to the southern tip of South Yorkshire. The area is semi-rural and consists largely of former pit villages which continue much of the mining tradition.

Here is the ambulance, with local supporters:

Kevin Barron, the Labour candidate and who is hoping to be re-elected as the MP, came down and welcomed us. He talked in detail about the corruption of the NHS due to it having to create internal ‘competitive’ markets and the need to be able to sell off chunks of the NHS to the private sector.


So far 1129 people with Rother Valley postcodes had signed the national petition, either on-line or face to face, so 38 Degrees member Patricia presented a certificate to Kevin.


And the number went up as we stood there!!

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts, Stand up for the NHS

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Splendid and focused Sheffield Hallam anti-TTIP meeting

May 1st, 2015 by

Our meeting, on April 27, started off with a choir singing an array of especially written anti-ttip songs. Here is the picture of them in the foyer.

We  insisted that they come into the meeting and kick things off.

The meeting was really well attended, packed out even! One of the those there said “it is great to see the room really full for a change, and for what is a comparatively obscure topic”.

There were four parliamentary candidates there. From left to right we had:

Carlton Reeve (Independent), Oliver Coppard (The Labour Party),Blanche Jones (chair; Campaigns Director, 38 Degrees) Nick Clegg’s representative Joe Otten (who is standing for the Liberal Democrats in Sheffield Central) and Peter Garbutt, Candidate (Green Party). And at the end we were extremely fortunate to have: John Hilary (War on Want) who introduced the proceedings.

Although Joe Otten, from the Liberal Democrats, supports TTIP, it was very good that he was there because he opened up the debate and made some of us think more clearly.
Given the format there was a great deal of audience participation



One the candidates remarked to me at the end. “It was a pleasure to go to a well informed and packed husting where waffle was kept to a minimum. Thank you 38 Degrees“.

And a big thank you to the other players who helped make things happen. And of course to Jess who took the pictures.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts, TTIP

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TTIP: Where do the SNP stand?

April 30th, 2015 by

38 Degrees members met with Stewart Hosie, deputy leader of the SNP, and asked him where his party stands on the EU-US trade deal TTIP. ISDS is the part of the TTIP deal that would allow corporations to sue our government in secret courts.

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Quizzing the candidates in Wirral West

April 30th, 2015 by

Hall 2

West Kirby United Reformed Church hall was filled to the brim with engaged citizens on Monday night, as the candidates for the seat of Wirral West were put to the test on the NHS. 150 people crowded into the hall to have their say in this crucial marginal seat.

Margaret Greenwood (Labour), Esther McVey (Conservative), Peter Reisdorf (Liberal Democrat), and David James (Independent) all came along. Hilary Jones (UKIP) was invited but refused to attend. Before the debate got underway, the candidates were presented with a petition from 2,850 members of the public in Wirral West calling on them to stop privatisation, exempt the NHS from TTIP, and ensure the National Health Service is properly funded.

Candidates group 3

Ably chaired by Tony Woof, the candidates were questioned on privatisation, TTIP, funding for local hospitals, and social care.

01 Audience Questioner

02 Audience

05 Margaret Greenwood

09 David James

14 Peter Reisdorf

13 Esther McVey

Posted in Campaigns by You

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