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Posts Tagged ‘Future Campaigns’

Who decides on the future of 38 Degrees campaigns?

It’s 38 Degrees members who set priorities and we decide on what we campaign on together. Here are the main ways 38 Degrees members have their say:

-Taking part in votes, polls and discussion on our website (all archived below)

-Making suggestions and discussing ideas on our Facebook page

-Adding and voting on suggestions in our campaign suggestions forum

-Tweeting ideas to @38_degrees

Member polls

Polling is one of the most important ways 38 Degrees members decide what 38 Degrees does. All our major campaigns – like protecting England’s forests, standing up to the NHS, challenging the power of Murdoch, and campaigning for more to be done about tax dodging – have been prioritised by 38 Degrees members through polls. Before polling takes place, volunteers and staff in the office work through comments on the blog, website, Facebook and twitter to come up with a shortlist of options for everyone to vote on. This is a long and careful process.

Initially the office team uses use a mix of spreadsheets, word analysis tools and visual techniques, such as word clouds – together with the old- fashioned technique of reading everything – to analyse suggestions. From this, the staff team can draw up a shortlist of around 20 to 25 of the most popular campaign suggestions from across all methods of communication. Polls and surveys also help decide the tactics we use together on a particular campaign. So 38 Degrees members can decide together whether the focus on a particular campaign should be – e.g choosing between options like organising a big petition, holding local meetings, an advert campaign, or something else entirely. Often the whole 38 Degrees membership takes part in polls. On some occasions, where time is short or there are a lot of e-mails going out about other campaigns, the staff team may poll a randomly selected sample of the 38 Degrees membership to find out what they think.

The role of the website, Facebook and Twitter

As well as more formal votes and polls, 38 Degrees members give staff feedback on what we should be doing together continuously through our website, and out Facebook and Twitter accounts. For example anyone can post up news stories to the 38 Degrees Facebook, which other 38 Degrees members can then join them in discussing. These suggestions and discussions feed in to the polling process. Sometimes when there is extremely limited time in which to launch a campaign, polling may not be practical and in these cases staff can use these channels to quickly gauge opinion before launching an emergency campaign.

The role of the staff

The primary role of the 38 Degrees staff is to serve 38 Degrees members. The staff team never forgets that 38 Degrees members make the donations that pay their wages! Staff are constantly on the look out for potential campaigns which may fit with the interests of 38 Degrees members, and for moments where people power could make a real difference. As well has scanning the media and looking out for suggestions from 38 Degrees members, staff also consult experts in different fields e.g academics and campaigners in more specialised organisations.

The staff team definitely plays an important role. But there is a big safety valve that makes sure it’s 38 Degrees members, not the staff team, who are in the driving seat. Every 38 Degrees campaign is “opt in” – each individual 38 Degrees member has a choice as to whether or not they get involved. That means it’s the members who decide whether or not a petition gather signatures, e-mails are sent to MPs, or money is raised for exciting tactics. It’s only if members chose to get involved in their thousands that any campaign takes off.

Member poll: July 27th

August 1st, 2013 by

Each week a poll is sent out to a random selection of 38 Degrees members to uncover the issues we all feel most strongly about. The results are discussed by the office team in a meeting every Monday morning and inform the campaigns for the week ahead. The results are in – so let’s take a look!

Continuing our campaign to save the NHS took the top spot again this week. Cracking down on tax dodging by big companies took second place, and campaigning to protect the rights of whistleblowers in the NHS ranked third.

The poll also asked about pension funds. A massive 84% responded saying that 38 Degrees should campaign for more ethical investment by major funds. There are many exciting movements calling for more ethical investment. One example is the American organisation 350.org who is targeting universities, local and state governments, and religious institutions to stop investing in fossil fuels. They are having some huge successes – check out their website for more information: http://gofossilfree.org/

There are loads of places to get involved in the conversation around what we should campaign on together next. Visit our Facebook page, Twitter feed or online campaign forum Uservoice.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Member poll: July 20th

July 22nd, 2013 by

As Monday morning comes round again, so do the results of the latest member poll.

38 Degrees is driven by the opinions of members. There are loads of places where we can all have our say on existing and up-and-coming campaigns – Facebook, Twitter, and Uservoice.

On top of that, each week the office team asks a random group of members to let us know which issues they feel most passionately about. These results are the basis of the office team’s Monday meeting and steer our future campaigns.

Once again, continuing to protect the NHS came out on top. This was closely followed by cracking down on tax dodging by big companies and strengthening rules against secret lobbying of the government – in second and third place respectively. The full results can be seen below (click on the image to see a larger version):

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Member Poll: July 13th

July 15th, 2013 by

It’s the start of a new week and that can only mean one thing: the results of the latest member poll are in!

38 Degrees works because all of us have a say in which issues we should act on together. There are loads of opportunities where 38 Degrees members can discuss existing and potential campaigns – across our Facebook page, Twitter feed and campaigns forum Uservoice.

As well as this, a group of randomly selected 38 Degrees members get the chance to vote on the issues we campaign on via a weekly poll. Every Monday morning, the office team gather around to discuss the results of this poll, and prioritise campaigns to work on over the week ahead.

This week’s top spot has been taken by the continuing campaign to protect the NHS, while cracking down on tax dodging companies and supporting NHS whistleblowers come a close second and third respectively. The full results can be seen below:



Do you have a campaign suggestion? Contact us at emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk, or get involved on our Facebook page, Twitter feed or campaigns forum Uservoice.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Member Poll: July 6th

July 10th, 2013 by

As 38 Degrees members we all have a say in which issues we campaign on and where we should make change happen. So knowing what all of us want to prioritise is crucial.

Every Monday morning the office team meets and uses the results of a weekly poll to decide on the campaigns to prioritise during the week ahead. The poll is sent to a group of randomly selected 38 Degrees members – remember, if you haven’t received a poll recently please don’t worry, the process is random and you’re bound to be asked soon!

This week, the crackdown on tax dodging companies takes the top spot, with supporting NHS whistleblowers and pushing the government to tackle climate change coming in second and third respectively. The full set of results for this week can be seen below:


38 Degrees Member Poll July 6th


Do you have a campaign suggestion? Email us on emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk or join the discussion on Facebook, on the 38 Degrees Twitter feed, and our campaigns forum Uservoice.


Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts


Member Poll: June 29th

July 1st, 2013 by

As members of 38 Degrees, all of us have a say on what we campaign on. The issues we campaign on together, we decide together!

To really get a handle on the issues that matter most, the office team send out a weekly poll to a randomly selected group of members – if you haven’t received one lately, don’t worry, the chances are you’ll be asked soon!

Every Monday morning the office team gets together and digests the results of this poll, using the information to prioritise what we campaign on that week. The popular issues brought to the table this week included: the continued fight to protect the NHS, the desire to crack down on tax dodging companies, and the will to keep pushing the government to fight climate change. The results of the poll can be seen below:

Do you have a campaign suggestion? Email us on emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk or join the discussion on Facebook, on the 38 Degrees Twitter feed, and our campaigns forum Uservoice.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts


Member poll: June 22nd

June 24th, 2013 by

38 Degrees is 100% member driven – that means what we campaign on together, we decide together!

38 Degrees members discuss a broad range of issues on a daily basis, and across a number of different forums – online on Facebook, Twitter and our campaign forum Uservoice, or in person on the phone or at meetings. 38 Degrees office staff filter out the most popular of these issues and, every week, a group of randomly selected members vote on what we should prioritise via an online poll.

The 38 Degrees office team use these results every Monday morning to decide what campaigns to prioritise in the week ahead. And here are the results this week.

Member poll June 22nd 2013


Do you have a campaign suggestion? Email us on emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk or join the discussion on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/peoplepowerchange





Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts


Member poll: June 8th

June 10th, 2013 by

As members of 38 Degrees, each one of us decides the issues we work on together to make change happen. So knowing what all of us care about is vital.

There are a number of forums – across our Facebook page, Twitter feed, blog and campaigns forum Uservoice – where 38 Degrees members discuss what we should campaign on. Every week a group of randomly selected 38 Degrees members has the chance to vote on what issues we should campaign on via a poll. The questions included are based on current campaigns as well as the thousands of daily discussions between 38 Degrees members (well, the ones that the office team here are privy to!).

The 38 Degrees office team use these results every Monday morning to decide what campaigns to work on in the week ahead. And here are the results this week. NHS and tax dodging have topped the priority list, with petrol price fixing and tackling climate change coming in third and fourth.

Poll results 8th June


When we campaign on the issues we choose together, we get things done! In the past few weeks we’ve exposed tax dodging Npower and hit them where it hurts by thousands of us switching suppliers. Nearly 200,000 of us campaigned against proposals to limit GP visits. Within just 48 hours the plans were off the table. And hundreds of thousands of us pushed the government for clean energy targets in the Energy Bill.

Do you have a campaign suggestion? Email us on emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk or join the discussion on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/peoplepowerchange

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts


Npower: 48 hrs to vote

May 14th, 2013 by

Is it time to teach Npower a lesson? 3 weeks ago they were exposed for not paying a single penny of corporation tax, while channeling UK profits through Malta. But they still haven’t accepted they’ve done anything wrong. And, they keep refusing to meet us to discuss our concerns.

Luckily Npower customers have got the trump card. We can hit them where it hurts: together we can take our custom elsewhere.

So, time to vote – shall we launch a mass switch-off away from Npower now? Voting closes in 48 hours, so please vote now:

YES       NO

I’ve been emailing the chief executive of Npower, Paul Massara. The whole conversation is pasted below. There’s been some progress, but in my view his response is just not good enough.

Here are the headlines:

- He’s refusing to meet with 38 Degrees members, even those who are Npower customers
- He still won’t accept that funneling UK profits through Malta to dodge tax is wrong
- He makes seemingly contradictory excuses. On the one hand he says that “npower does not engage in tax avoidance” but on the other hand he claims that “HMRC is well aware of the possibility of UK companies using interest payments as a way of reducing their tax bill”. He then seems to admit they were using Malta because it was “efficient” for avoiding tax, but that it’s German taxes they were dodging so we shouldn’t worry about it!

There are some (small?) positive signs too:

- He says he accepts that he needs to be more transparent about their tax affairs and has pledged to sign Npower up to apply the “CBI’s tax principles”
- He claims that they’ve stopped using Malta. But won’t confirm that they’re not using new tax dodge routes instead – it looks like money is now being channelled via the Netherlands.

What do you think? Shall we launch a mass switch away from Npower now?

YES       NO

There are around 30,000 Npower customers who are 38 Degrees members – that means there’s enough of us to have a real impact. 38 Degrees can launch a website this week which would make it easy for Npower customers to switch to other gas and electricity companies in their thousands.

It’s the last thing that Npower’s CEO will want. But it’ll work. And it will also send a crystal clear message to other companies. Tax dodging has consequences.

Shall we launch a people-powered mass switch-off away from Npower now?

YES       NO

Thanks for everything you do,

Executive Director, 38 Degrees

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: David Babbs
Date: 13 May 2013 21:31
Subject: Re: RWE npower – Tax Issues
To: Paul.Massara@rwenpower.com

Dear Paul,

Thanks for your email and attached letter.

I’m disappointed that you still refuse to meet with Npower customers who have joined this campaign. I’m sure that your “customer council” serves a useful purpose for you, but in this case there are tens of thousands of your customers how have specific concerns about how your business is operating.  I’m surprised that you don’t think it would be “appropriate” to meet with them.

I’ve explained already that I have consulted our members on how they’d feel about me meeting you without Npower customers being present, and that they voted overwhelmingly that I should only agree to meet if they could also be represented. So I’m afraid I’m not able to meet with you on the terms which you propose.

Your refusal to meet your customers, together with the rest of your letter, suggest to me that you’re still choosing not to engage with the reasons so many of your customers have got involved with this campaign. We’ve not suggested that your channeling of funds via Malta was “illegal”. But whatever the legalities, we believe it’s simply wrong for a company that relies on the goodwill of millions of UK consumers to avoid paying UK taxes in this way. Your emphasis on HMRC’s view that it is legal is therefore not really relevant.

You’ve still not explained why you were using this Maltese route in the first place if not to dodge tax; why you’ve now stopped (anything to do with the German government outlawing a tax dodge structure know within the trade as the “Maltese double whopper”, perhaps?); or what you’re now up to by channeling funds through the Netherlands instead.

I guess your pledge to sign up to the CBI’s tax principles is a step in the right direction. But you haven’t even indicated a firm timetable for this, or explained how this might change your actual behaviour or the amount of tax you pay in the UK.

So, my personal view is that your response is not really satisfactory. Ultimately though it’s the view of your customers and 38 Degrees members that will decide what happens next with the campaign – I’ll be asking them to vote shortly.

I will of course share this correspondence with them as part of that vote. I plan to forward this whole thread of emails as well.



On 9 May 2013 16:01 : Paul.Massara@rwenpower.com wrote:

I attach an open letter to you, 38 Degrees, and all my customers, employees and stakeholders that have been affected by the accusations that my company has avoided corporation tax.

Our offers (of 17 Apr and 2 May) for you to either meet me or our Director of Tax still stand. I am happy to explain why we do not, and will not, engage in tax avoidance.

I very much accept the need to communicate with my customers but I do not believe that selecting only from 38 Degrees members is an appropriate way of identifying people for me to meet. We will continue our ongoing consultation through our Customer Council and other communication channels.

For the past few weeks, I have been taking a lot of time to talk with my employees, my customers and my stakeholders to ensure that they fully understand what we have done and why. Most importantly, I want them, and you, to know that npower is a company to be proud of.

I hope you will take the time to read and pass on to your campaigning members the letter I have attached. It is available freely on our website.


Paul Massara

(letter was attached but can also be seen on the Npower website)

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: David Babbs
Date: 8 May 2013 11:01
Subject: Re: RWE npower – Tax Issues
To: Paul.Massara@rwenpower.com

Dear Paul,

It’s now 6 days since I emailed you last – I wondered if you had a response to my question as to whether you’d agree to a meeting involving some representatives of Npower customers?

In the absence of a reply from you earlier, I have now polled your customers on whether they’d be happy for me to meet you on my own. There’s quite a strong feeling amongst them at least a couple of Npower customers should also be present.

Please let me know,


On 2 May 2013 16:26, David Babbs wrote:

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your e-mail.

I think a meeting between us would be a very good idea. However, I am not sure that the most appropriate format would be for it to be “one to one”. We have over 25,000 npower customers signed up to our petition, who have indicated they are considering switching to another supplier unless they can be satisfied that you are not tax dodging. I am not currently an npower customer, so it would seem a little odd for me to be speaking on all these people’s behalf on my own.

So I wondered if you would consider extending your offer of the meeting to myself + one or two concerned npower customers who have signed our petition? If you are not willing to do this for some reason, then I think what I will probably do is poll everyone to see if they are happy for me attend on my own or not.

I have considered your bullet pointed claims carefully. I have included my response to each of them below. I’m afraid that at present my view is that these are unsubstanitated claims and you haven’t really offered any evidence which would lead to us ending this campaign. I’m happy to discuss in more detail with you what that evidence would look like – either in person if we meet, or by e-mail.

- RWE npower does not engage in tax avoidance

We’ve offered substantial evidence that you do engage in tax avoidance. If you want me, or you customers, to believe your claim that you don’t you will need offer evidence as to why we’re wrong. At present I’m afraid I don’t believe you.

The use of Malta-based Scaris very clearly saved the RWE group tax. We cannot see a motive for routing of funds from Germany to the UK via Malta other than tax avoidance and you have not so far offered one.

- The use of Scaris by RWE did not affect npower’s tax position in the UK in any way at all

Again, I’m afraid at present I don’t believe you and you will have to offer some evidence to back this assertion.

If the £2 billion or more of equity share capital that was committed to Scaris had instead been directly committed to npower its tax position in the UK would have been very different. It would have paid vastly less in interest and so would shave significantly increased its taxable profits in this country. Can you explain why you chose to use the Maltese route instead if not to avoid tax?

- I can confirm that RWE stopped using Scaris during 2012

That’s encouraging, but please can you confirm:
Why this has been done when some of the loans were not due for repayment until 2030? What you are now doing instead?

As I explained previously to Zoe in your press team, if you are now simply routing money through a different tax haven instead of Malta that will not reassure anyone.

- We borrow from our parent group to finance our ongoing operations because they can raise money to lend to us more cheaply than from a UK bank (if we borrowed in the UK, this would increase our interest payments, reduce our profits and so reduce the tax we pay!)

But you did not borrow from your parent group in Germany: you borrowed from another company owned by the group and based in a tax haven, and the rates were not always low: some exceeded 6%. In addition, the parent group invested capital in Scaris to let this happen – capital that could have been made available direct to npower. So this was a financing structure, not a loan and as such cannot be represented as the simple loan arrangement you portray. The only explanation we can see for the use of this Maltese route is tax avoidance – again, please offer an alternative explanation if you have one.

Your argument about borrowing from a UK bank is appropriate: of course you might have done that. But then they would have been taxable on the interest paid and so the revenue would have stayed in the UK. The whole essence of our argument was that profits that should have been taxed in the UK were shifted as a result of the structure you used out of this country – and were not taxable in Germany either. As such your counter-argument does not succeed in making your point that there was no tax lost to the UK; there clearly was.

The fact that you offer an alternative funding arrangement as part of your argument also lets us do the same: we can as a result quite fairly argue that the capital invested in Scaris should instead have been invested in RWE npower and if that had been done more tax would have been due in this country.

- I can confirm that it is only because of the massive investment that my company has made in the UK, and the losses we made in our supply business that resulted in us paying little or no corporation tax. The Government uses tax reliefs as a way of incentivising investment and it is saddening to be criticised for exactly the behaviour that the Government wanted to encourage.

We have not criticised you for investing in the UK or for claiming capital allowances and will not do so. We have criticised you for using offshore structures to avoid tax and for not disclosing your activities in a full set of consolidated, audited accounts for the UK that show the true nature of your total activities in this country and the tax you do or do not pay here. We continue to believe that these are total appropriate criticisms.

All best wishes,

On 1 May 2013 16:04, Paul.Massara@rwenpower.com wrote:

Dear David,

I have been forwarded a copy of your email to Zoe Melarkey.

To come back to you on your questions (even though most of these points are in the public domain already): – RWE npower does not engage in tax avoidance

- The use of Scaris by RWE did not affect npower’s tax position in the UK in any way at all

- I can confirm that RWE stopped using Scaris during 2012

- We borrow from our parent group to finance our ongoing operations because they can raise money to lend to us more cheaply than from a UK bank (if we borrowed in the UK, this would increase our interest payments, reduce our profits and so reduce the tax we pay!)

I can confirm that it is only because of the massive investment that my company has made in the UK, and the losses we made in our supply business that resulted in us paying little or no corporation tax. The Government uses tax reliefs as a way of incentivising investment and it is saddening to be criticised for exactly the behaviour that the Government wanted to encourage.

I hope the above points are helpful, but if you require clarification, I’m happy to speak to you on the phone or have a one to one meeting.


Paul Massara
RWE npower

From: David Babbs
Date: 30 April 2013 13:40

Subject: our phone conversation a couple of hours ago
To: Zoe.Melarkey@npower.com

Hi Zoe,

Thanks for calling. I just wanted to confirm in writing what we spoke about.

Meeting Paul Massara
As I first explained yesterday, I don’t think it will really help to meet an Npower “tax expert”, as the facts aren’t in dispute here. You accept that our description of your tax affairs is accurate but point out that it’s legal. We have not suggested it’s illegal, but argue that it’s unacceptable. So this isn’t really a technical discussion.

We would like to meet with your CEO, and I’m pleased that you indicated verbally that this would be possible. Once this is confirmed in writing we’ll let our members know they can stop contacting you demanding a meeting.

“No longer using the Maltese route”
You indicated to me, and have indicated to the press, that as of last year npower is no longer channeling funds via Malta. That’s encouraging to hear, but for that to mean an end to the campaign:
1) we’d need to be satisfied that it’s true
2) we’d need to satisfied that you’ve not simply adopted a new accounting method to avoid paying tax in the UK (If “the maltese route” has been replaced with the “Cayman Islands route” or something that’s not going to satisfy our members!)

Let me know if you think you may be in a position to provide this kind of information and we can open up a discussion.

Obviously if you are able to get back to me on these points quickly we’ll reevaluate our next steps, but for now we’ll keep prepping the next stages of the campaign.

All best wishes,

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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NHS: What next?

April 29th, 2013 by

Just recently, together we’ve been campaigning against the Section 75 regulations, otherwise known as ‘backdoor privatisation’ of the NHS. Here’s what we did:

  • Over 360, 000 people signed the petition – a huge public showing of opposition to the privatisation of the NHS
  • 38 Degrees members gathered in Norfolk outside the Health Minister Norman Lamb’s constituency office to present him with the petition and voice their concerns about how the regulations might force Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to privatise the NHS
  • 38 Degrees members funded expert legal advice to scrutinise the regulations. The Department of Health responded to this legal advice. David Lock QC then gave his opinion of this response
  • 38 Degrees members and staff met with Norman Lamb at the Department of Health’s office to discuss the regulations and again show him the public opposition to the regulations. Following the meeting Norman Lamb sent a note to 38 Degrees members.

As a result of all this pressure, we convinced Norman Lamb to withdraw the regulations and re-draft them. A huge victory for people power! While the new regulations aren’t perfect, they are better than the original version.

For the final vote in the House of Lords, the office team sent briefing packs to Lords including details of the petition and the legal advice.

Unfortunately the new regulations were not defeated and are now law. Norman Lamb has promised that the guidance that will accompany the regulations will ensure CCGs that they will be able to keep services in-house if they so wish. Over the next few months, we need to watch carefully to see whether he keeps his word.

So the NHS changes are now in force. But that isn’t the end of the NHS campaign. Over 50,000 38 Degrees members participated in a poll and had their say on the direction of the NHS campaign. The office team are working up plans for how to progress the NHS campaign based on the poll results. We are keeping a close eye on the NHS and will be there to campaign on important NHS issues as they come up.

As 38 Degrees members consistently vote, the NHS is a big priority!

Alongside the national campaigns that the office team sends out, there’s a new campaigning tool that local members have the opportunity to use. There’s a new part of the 38 Degrees site where members can set up and run their own campaigns – it’s called Campaigns by You. It’s there to give members the opportunity to campaign on the many important issues, both local and national, that are too numerous for the the small office team to ever manage alone.

The new site has already produced some amazing wins! Such as stopping a nuclear dump in the Lake District, saving a local community library and protecting local heritage sites. All of these wins have come from 38 Degrees members like yourself setting up their own petitions on the new site!

Now that CCGs have taken over commissioning health care, this new site gives you the opportunity to campaign on local health issues. For example, if there’s unnecessary privatisation of services in your local area, or ambulances overstretched, or hospitals desperately understaffed, or a local A&Es closed, you can now start a petition on it and fight to protect local health services.

The office team have just made a video about the new site, which will give you some more information about what Campaigns By You is all about.

If there’s any issue, NHS-related or not, you’d like to start a campaign on, you now can easily get one up and running. Hopefully this new site gives your local campaign the opportunity to grow and create positive change for your community!


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

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NHS poll results

April 12th, 2013 by

Over 50,000 members have now responded to the latest member poll, and the results are now in. The poll asked 38 Degrees members ‘What next for the NHS campaign?’.

With the government’s changes to the NHS recently coming into force, it is an important time for members to decide how to take the NHS campaign forward.

Here are the results of the poll (click on the image for a larger view):

The poll results clearly show that 38 Degrees members remain extremely passionate about protecting the NHS. The office team will now use the answers to the poll to work out the next steps for the NHS campaign.

What do you think of these results? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Posted in Stand up for the NHS

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