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Our campaign successes

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Since we started campaigning in 2014, we've spoken out to make sure the voices and needs of people with arthritis are recognised by Government and MPs.

Because of your action, we've made progress on some big issues affecting people with arthritis, pushing back the limits of pain on over 10 million people in the UK.

Campaigning is one way we are working to ensure that people with arthritis are recognised, and can remain independent and in control of their own lives.

We want to see policies in place that will prevent and cure arthritis, and transform the services and support for people living in pain today, pushing back the limits of arthritis.

Here are some of our highlights so far. For news on our latest campaigns, check out our current campaigns, or join our campaigner network.

Arthritis Champion campaign, 2015 General Election

Thanks to your action, we ensured people with arthritis had a strong voice during the General Election, and in the new Parliament, with 115 'Arthritis Champion' MPs elected in May 2015.

Because of your support, over 620 parliamentary candidates signed up our Arthritis Champion manifesto during the campaign, committing to fight for the prevention and cure of arthritis, and the transformation of services for people living with arthritis today.

All three of the major party leaders, including the then Prime Minister, backed our Prevent, Transform, Cure manifesto, putting arthritis on the political agenda.

Find out if your MP is one of the 160+ Arthritis Champion MPs in Parliament.

No Time To Lose campaign, 2015 Government Spending Review

Because of your support, medical research spending in the Government's 2015 review of its spending was protected, and disability benefits were protected from further cuts.

With everything under review, including benefits, healthcare, support for research, and the amount of money local councils receive to invest in local services, our campaign fought for a fair deal for people with arthritis in the new Government's spending plans.

We called for the Government to do more to end the suffering for the 10 million in the UK living with the devastating pain of arthritis. We asked Government to:

  • Commit to the search for a cure for arthritis by protecting and then increasing investment in medical research
  • Protect the exemptions for benefits for people with disability from the freeze on working age benefits
  • Maintain spending and then invest more money in local public health services that help keep people healthy

Here's our verdict on the spending review, along with a blog on the implications from our Chief Executive Officer Dr Liam O'Toole.

A fair deal on welfare, 2015–16

Employment and Support Allowance cut

With your help, we fought against the Government's proposed £30 per week cut to Employment and Support Allowance for people in the 'Work Related Activity Group' (WRAG). Under the proposals, new claimants seeking this support from April 2017 are due to see a cut in their weekly support of around a third, from £102 currently, to £73 per week.

Alongside our partners in the Disability Benefits Consortium, we organised a mass rally with hundreds of disabled people in Parliament to make sure MPs understood the impact of the cuts on people with conditions like arthritis ahead of their vote.

Arthritis campaigner Catherine (pictured, right) met her own MP to put across the case for people with arthritis, and we continued to fight the cut in the House of Commons and Lords as the Government tried to make it law.

The Government sadly pushed through the cut, but our team continues to work on ensuring a fairer benefits system for people with arthritis, including looking at the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), and better employment support.

Personal Independence Payments

In March 2016, people with arthritis helped win a major victory on Government plans on Personal Independence Payments (PIP), stopping unfair changes to the assessment criteria for the benefit.

The Government proposed unfair changes to the assessment of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), moving the goalposts for thousands of disabled people.

The changes would have had a major impact on thousands of people with arthritis who rely on these benefits. Some disabled people would have seen a drop in their support of up to £150 a week, or even been turned down for this support altogether.

We responded with deep concern to these plans when they were announced, and joined forces with the MS Society, Parkinson’s UK and the Motor Neurone Disease Association to launch a campaign to stop the cuts.

Thousands of disabled people emailed their MP as part of the campaign, and the Government were forced to drop their proposals.

People with arthritis made their voice heard, and the Government listened.

Arthritis Champion Scotland, 2016 Scottish Parliamentary Elections

The 2016 Parliamentary election in Scotland was a big campaign for people with arthritis, with 39 Arthritis Champions, from all of the major parties, being elected to the Scottish Parliament.

It means these Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) committed to our manifesto, to fight for the prevention and cure of arthritis, and to transform services for people living in pain across Scotland.

Hundreds of people with arthritis across Scotland made their voice heard during the Scottish Parliamentary Election.

Over 3,000 emails were sent to election candidates from people with arthritis, telling them to make the fight against arthritis a priority over the next five years, and deliver a fair deal for people with arthritis.

Find out if your new MSP is an Arthritis Champion by checking our table.

Share Your Everyday – Arthritis Parliamentary Debate, 2016

In October 2016, because of your action, the Government was forced to admit that it was now time for "action, not words" to help push back the limits of arthritis.

Ahead of the first debate on arthritis in over five years in Parliament, we launched a campaign to ensure MPs and government gained a better understanding of the day-to-day experience of living with the pain of arthritis.

In the 2 weeks before the debate, people with arthritis across the UK contacted over 320 MPs - half of parliament - asking their local MPs to give people with arthritis a voice at the debate.

The debate, led by MP Jim Shannon, highlighted Arthritis Research UK’s Share Your Everyday campaign, and the pain, isolation and fatigue that millions of people with arthritis live with every day.

Read the full story on the debate, including MPs talking about their own experiences with arthritis, the Government response, and more on our own Facebook debate to push back the limits of arthritis.

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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.