Election updates

Read a round-up of our activities and responses to news and announcements about the 2017 UK general election.

2 June 2017

Response to the UKIP Election Manifesto

UKIP have launched their General Election manifesto – Britain Together. We have identified potential areas of interest for our community.

Firstly, UKIP pledged to “scrap EU Legislation that has hindered the NHS, such as the Clinical Trial Directive." The Directive is set to be replaced by Clinical Trials Regulation in 2018.

Given that multi-centre clinical trials across the EU have facilitated the sharing of data and information, and can be particularly useful for rare conditions, The Brain Tumour Charity would like to see a collaborative relationship emerge between the UK and the EU post-Brexit. In addition, it's crucial that brain tumour researchers can make applications for EU research funding to help facilitate collaboration and extra funding to allow research into brain tumours to thrive. We want funding to be guaranteed for EU research programmes after 2020.

Further to this, UKIP questioned the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment process and pledged to reform Work Capability Assessments “in consultation with disabled people and disabled charities". There was no mention of the changes to Bereavement Support Payments. The recent changes mean widowed parents can now only receive payments for up to 18 months after a partner's death. This is a significant change from Widowed Parents' Allowance, which allowed parents to claim until a child turned 20 or left full-time education.

One in two people face financial difficulty after a brain tumour diagnosis - we want the Bereaved Support Payment to be available for up to 10 years.

Read the full manifesto.

30 May 2017

Response to the SNP Election Manifesto

The SNP have published their manifesto for the UK general election this morning, making a number of pledges around health, welfare and Brexit.

As responsibilities for health and social care (and some benefits) rest with the Scottish Parliament, the SNP have limited room for manoeuvre when it comes to policy made in Westminster.

The main pledges of relevance to us are as follows:

Access to treatments

  • Call on the UK Government to stay part of the European Medicines Agency so that access to vital drugs is maintained and we can participate in Europe-wide clinical trials and data sharing
  • Call on the UK Government to devolve responsibility for medicine and medicinal product regulation to the Scottish Parliament

Brexit and research

  • Continue to work with Scotland's universities and institutions to seek clarity from the UK Government on what will replace Horizon 2020 funding (not a direct quote)
  • Call for a Scottish representative to be a standing member of the UK Research and Innovation Board, which decides on allocation of UK research funding to UK universities
  • Press for immigration powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament so that Scotland can attract EU and EEA nationals to work in the NHS and care sector for years to come
  • Press the UK Government to ensure continuity in cross-border health insurance arrangements – including the EHIC card

Health

  • Work on a cross-party basis to support an NHS Reinstatement Bill that “returns the NHS south of the border to its founding principles"
  • Argue for an increase in frontline health spending at Westminster – and the Scottish Government will ensure that any consequential funding from this goes to Scotland's health service

Read the full document.

18 May 2017

Response to the Conservative Party Election Manifesto

The Conservative Party have today launched their manifesto – “Forward Together" - and the document included one policy commitment that is relevant for our community.

On cancer diagnosis, the Conservatives pledged to deliver a “new promise to give patients a definitive diagnosis within 28 days by 2020", whilst proposing to expand screening facilities and upgrade radiotherapy equipment. One of our key asks at this Election is to improve awareness to drive early diagnosis. As our evidence-based HeadSmart campaign has demonstrated, greater awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours in children and teenagers is vital to driving earlier diagnosis, saving lives and reducing long-term disabilities.

We want early diagnosis campaigns rolled out across the UK.

Your Voice Matters, so following the election result on Friday 9 June, we will continue to champion the needs of our community by campaigning on the issues that really matter to those affected by brain tumours.

With several manifestos from political parties expected to be published in the coming days, we will continue to analyse proposals that will impact upon our community.

17 May 2017

Response to the Liberal Democrat Election Manifesto

The Liberal Democrats have today launched their manifesto which outlines a number of policy commitments that are relevant to our community.

On earlier diagnosis, the manifesto expresses support for continuing public health campaigns such as Be Clear on Cancer. This campaign has helped to improve awareness of common cancer signs and symptoms, and we have long called on Be Clear on Cancer to run a campaign to raise the profile of rarer cancers such as brain tumours.

Our HeadSmart campaign has had a demonstrable impact on reducing average diagnosis times for childhood brain tumours since its launch in 2011, and provides a model for a national campaign to increase brain tumour awareness among the general public.

We want the next Government to learn from the example of campaigns like HeadSmart, to drive earlier diagnosis and improve survival and quality of life for brain tumour patients in order to reduce diagnosis times down to four weeks in line with NHS targets.

With regard to research funding, the Liberal Democrats have promised to “fight to retain access to Horizon 2020 and Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions funding."

We want funding to be guaranteed for EU research programmes after 2020 so that brain tumour researchers are able to benefit from cross-border collaboration in areas like clinical trials for childhood brain tumours.

Finally, the Liberal Democrats also pledge to protect the science budget and increase research spending across the UK in the longer-term. We also welcome the Liberal Democrats' support for the “further development of open access academic journals", which have the potential to improve the data that is available for researcher into brain tumours.

Your Voice Matters, so following the election result on Friday 9 June, we will continue to champion the needs of our community by campaigning on the issues that really matter to those affected by brain tumours.

With several manifestos from political parties expected to be published in the coming days, we will continue to analyse proposals that will impact upon our community.

16 May 2017

Response to Plaid Cymru's Election Manifesto

Alongside Labour's General Election manifesto launch today, Plaid Cymru also unveiled their priorities for the next five years in Westminster, which included several policy commitments that are highly relevant to our community.

On social security, Plaid pledged to create “a fairer and more transparent benefits system" and declared that they “will continue to fight the changes to bereavement support payments".

We believe a fair and proportionate Bereavement Support Payment would help to ease the financial challenges created by the loss of a loved one and provide financial security at an incredibly difficult time. We want the incoming government to ensure that the Bereavement Support Payment is available for the bereaved for up to 10 years.

Elsewhere in their manifesto, Plaid spoke of their vision for “earlier diagnosis of disease and better access to life-saving treatments" as measures for lowering the number of premature deaths in Wales. Whilst the specifics of this commitment will need to be properly detailed in future, we welcome the inclusion of this overarching goal in the manifesto.

Our evidence-based HeadSmart campaign is equipping the public and healthcare professionals with information they need to reduce diagnosis times for childhood brain tumours. Since launching in 2011, HeadSmart has contributed to reducing average diagnosis times of childhood brain tumours from 9.1 weeks to 6.5 weeks. Our goal is to drive this down to 4 weeks in line with NHS targets. We want early diagnosis campaigns rolled out across the UK.

Your Voice Matters, so following the election result on Friday 9 June, we will continue to champion the needs of our community by campaigning on the issues that really matter to those affected by brain tumours.

With several manifestos from political parties expected to be published in the coming days, we will continue to analyse proposals that will impact upon our community.

16 May 2017

Response to the Labour Party's Election Manifesto

The Labour Party has today launched its official manifesto for the General Election on Thursday 8 June. The manifesto sets out the official opposition's policy agenda.

Firstly, Labour has pledged to “scrap bereavement support payment cuts" that became effective in April this year. The new changes to bereavement benefits mean widowed parents can now only receive payments for up to 18 months after a partner's death.

This is a significant change from Widowed Parents' Allowance, which allowed parents to claim until a child turned 20 or left full-time education. Our research shows that 1 in 2 people face financial difficulty after a brain tumour diagnosis.

A fair and proportionate Bereavement Support Payment would help to ease the financial challenges created by the loss of a loved one and provide financial security at an incredibly difficult time. We want the incoming government to ensure that the Bereavement Support Payment is available for the bereaved for up to 10 years.

Secondly, Labour have committed to ensuring “the UK maintains our leading research role by seeking to stay part of Horizon 2020 and its successor programmes and by welcoming research staff to the UK". It's crucial that brain tumour researchers can make applications for EU research funding, to ensure that investment in research into brain tumours goes further and to encourage collaboration.

It's important that UK researchers can continue to apply for EU research programmes after 2020. The Samantha Dickson Brain Cancer Unit at UCL was able to secure £1.7 million of crucial further funding from the EU, following investment from The Brain Tumour Charity. We want funding to be guaranteed for EU research programmes after 2020, because for our community a cure can't wait.

Your Voice Matters, so following the election result on Friday 9 June, we will continue to champion the needs of our community by campaigning on the issues that really matter to those affected by brain tumours.

With several manifestos from political parties expected to be published in the coming days, we will continue to analyse proposals that will impact upon our community and provide similar commentary when further manifestos are launched.

15 May 2017

Response to Cancer Research UK's calls to action for Election 2017

Cancer Research UK has asked candidates to support four calls to action during the General Election, which include investing in cancer diagnostics, ensuring quick access to new treatments for patients and making research a top priority in the Brexit negotiations.

In response, our Chief Scientific Officer, David Jenkinson, said: “We welcome these calls to action from Cancer Research UK, which are in line with our own recommendations. In particular, it is crucial that we have the diagnostic workforce to ensure that suspicious symptoms can be investigated and brain tumours are caught earlier."

2 May 2017

Response to The Wellcome Trust's letter to party leaders

Following publication of The Wellcome Trust's letter to party leaders, outlining the organisation's four key election asks, our Chief Scientific Officer, David Jenkinson, issued the following response:

“We strongly support the Wellcome Trust's letter to party leaders regarding Britain's role in science and research over the next five years. We need the next Government to ensure that collaboration is maintained with our European partners in a rare disease area such brain tumours. This is why we are calling on the Government to guarantee access to EU funding for research after 2020."

25 April 2017

Launch of #YourVoiceMatters

We launched our election campaign #YourVoiceMatters, setting out our key political asks and how people can get involved.

Learn more and join the campaign.

18 April 2017

Election statement released

Following the announcement of a snap general election, our Chief Executive, Sarah Lindsell, issued a statement urging people to use it as an opportunity to stand stronger together to defeat brain tumours.

Read more.

Get involved

#YourVoiceMatters and you can help by raising awareness of the issues important to the brain tumour community.

Join us in asking candidates to commit to four policy changes that will improve the quality of life for those affected by a brain tumour.

Read more about our election campaign.