#EndOnlineAbuse Campaign Response to Spring Statement 2019
This afternoon, the Chancellor of Exchequer Spring Statement made reference to the responsibility of tech giants and online harms. While we welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to protecting the public from online harms and ensuring that global tech giants pay their fair share, we cannot wait for regulation, we need practical action now.
A DCMS consultation last year found four in ten people said they had experienced abuse online. This issue impacts community cohesion, mental health and wellbeing and exacerbates existing social inequalities that also disproportionately affect marginalised communities. During the Autumn Statement last year, the Chancellor announced a new “digital services tax” of 2% on tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter. This tax is expected to raise an additional £400m a year but we are yet to hear any further details on how this new money is going to be spent.
To efficiently and effectively combat online abuse, Glitch and the Centenary Action Group repeat our call for the Chancellor to ring-fence at least 1% of the new digital service tax annually for ending online abuse. We recommend this new money is used to:
- Enforce existing legislation on online abuse and increase police resources.
- Educate the public on the importance of good online citizenship.
- Empower individuals and civil society organisations working to end online abuse.
Through no negative deficit, using money from tech giants, the UK Government can take decisive action towards ensuring the internet is use-able for all – championing online citizenship and reinforcing our position as a leader in the digital arena.
The Prime Minister has called online abuse in public life “a threat to democracy” and evidence clearly proves that online abuse is a growing problem. As the UK Government looks to introduce new laws to make the UK “the safest place to be online”, now is the time to invest in ending online abuse and we urge the Chancellor to invest as a matter of urgency.