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Arm holding Chancellor of the Exchequer budget bag

Give us a Budget for people with MS

Jonathan Blades

This Wednesday Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, will outline how the government plans to spend the nation's money in the Autumn Budget.

Here's four things we want the Chancellor to commit to for people with MS.

1. Money to stabilise the care crisis

We know the social care system in England is in crisis.

1 in 3 people living with MS aren’t getting the support they need with essential everyday activities like washing, dressing and eating.

Improving social care is about more than money, but simply won’t be possible without it. The government must deliver short-term investment in adult social care, to stop services for disabled adults worsening or disappearing. It's estimated we need an additional £2.5 billion for 2018/19 alone.

We asked you to tell your MPs the need for working age adults to be considered in any future social care plans, and you rose to the challenge. You reached out to 90% of all MPs in England about the care crisis, pushing it higher up the political agenda. Now 80 other charities are helping keep up the pressure.

Last week, the government announced a social care consultation to address long-term funding that will be launched next summer. The government says at the same time it will take forward work focussing on working age disabled adults.

We've now been invited to meet with ministers and make sure people with MS are at the centre of talks as plans develop.

2. No more cuts to Welfare

Disability benefits like Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) are absolutely vital to many people with MS. During the last parliament, we were given some reassurance: a commitment not to target disability benefits for further cuts.

In the lead-up to this year's General Election, we called for this commitment to be continued. And we hope the government will use this Budget to make a new commitment to no more cuts to disability benefits.

3. PIP that pays properly

Recent reforms to essential financial support for disabled people have had significant impact. The PIP system especially isn’t working as well as it should for people with MS.

Our research shows people with MS reassessed for PIP from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are losing out. We calculated that at least £6 million has been taken from people living with MS per year in reduced support since PIP was introduced.

Following this trend, an estimated minimum of another £20 million per year could be taken away by the time PIP is fully rolled out. The government must review the criteria for PIP so they properly reflect what it's like to live with MS.

We need this Budget to show our government is committed to a welfare system driven by the needs of the people who depend on it.

4. A much needed birthday present for the NHS

2018 will mark the 70th birthday of the NHS. But instead of being a time for celebration, it is a time of concern.

Leading health experts have predicted that NHS funding will be at least £4 billion lower than is needed in 2018/19. And that by the end of this Parliament, there will be a NHS funding gap of £20 billion. Unfortunately, current government spending plans are nowhere near filling it.

It's time for the government to give the NHS an early birthday present and invest the money it needs to close the funding gap. People with MS rely on the NHS every day, but an underfunded NHS cannot be relied on.

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