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Budget 2021 – what it means for people with MS

Joe Brunwin

Yesterday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP outlined the UK Government’s 2021 Budget. We take a look at what the Budget means for people living with MS.

Still no increase in legacy benefits

The Chancellor has extended the Universal Credit increase for another six months and granted a £500 one-off payment for people on Working Tax Credit. But it was deeply disappointing that he didn’t mention any equivalent increase in legacy benefits like Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Instead, from April 2021, legacy benefits will rise in line with inflation - less than £20 a year.

As a member of the Disability Benefits Consortium we’ve been calling on the Government to increase legacy benefits in line with the £20 a week increase given to people on Universal Credit in April.

We’ll continue to campaign to make sure people on legacy benefits are not forgotten and driven into further hardship.

Extension of the Job Support Scheme 

There was some positive news on jobs with the Job Support Scheme (furlough) extended for a further six months to the end of September. There’ll be no change for employees, but from the end of July employers will need to contribute more.

Support for self-employed people will continue to the end of September with the aim of supporting those most affected by the pandemic. And the Living Wage will be increased to £8.91 an hour from April.

However, while there were announcements around some employment plans, there’s more we need to know. There was no specific mention of support for disabled people getting back to work. We hope there’ll be more information in the forthcoming Disability Strategy expected in spring 2021.

The draft strategy is open for consultation until 23 April if you want to share your views.

No mention of social care

Where was social care? In the Budget there was no plan about how to address the funding crisis in social care. Over a year ago the Prime Minister committed to ‘fix social care once and for all’ and it’s disappointing that another opportunity to do this was missed.

There was also no mention of an increase in Carers’ Allowance, something we’d been calling for alongside other organisations like Carers’ UK.

And much like social care, there was no mention of funding to help NHS services recover from the impact of COVID-19 and restart services. Something we know will be important for vital MS services.

What we want to see

We’re still calling for the Government’s social care plans to be published now. We want to see:

  • immediate and sufficient investment so local authorities can maintain services and support high quality care
  • long-term sustainable funding for social care to make sure people affected by MS can access the care and support they need
  • provision for working-age adults as well as older people
  • Increased support for unpaid carers including increases to Carer’s Allowance, employment security, and access to breaks and respite.

Join our campaign for better support for people with MS

While this budget is extremely disappointing for people with MS, we’ll continue to campaign for a fair, effective and properly funded social care system.

But to do this we need people with MS to share their experiences of social care. If you’d like to share your experience please get in touch with us at [email protected].       

Join the campaigns community and help us campaign for better financial support and services for the MS community.