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The Budget: why it matters for people with MS

Jonathan Blades

On Monday, Chancellor Phillip Hammond will outline how the UK Government plans to spend the nation's money in the Autumn Budget.

Spending decisions matter

We all know getting the right treatment, care and support is incredibly important for everyone affected by MS. And UK Government spending decisions are key to making that happen.

The impact of previous spending decisions is also becoming clearer.

Stricter criteria for disability benefits mean at least 9,400 people with MS have lost the support they need.

1 in 3 people with MS aren’t getting the social care they need, mainly because of a lack of proper funding.

We need a Budget that focuses on making sure everyone with MS gets the care and support they need.

Funding the NHS AND social care

We’re keen to hear how the Chancellor will fund the extra £20 billion per year pledged for the NHS earlier this year. Because while money for the NHS is needed, it can’t be at the expense of funding for social care.

The social care system in England is in crisis. It needs £2.5 billion by 2020 just to continue to operate as it currently does.

At the start of the month, the Government announced an extra £240 million for social care. This is welcome but not nearly enough.

£240 million will go some way to help people who are in hospital to get back to their community. But it won’t stop people who aren’t getting the care they need from entering hospital in the first place.

We want the Chancellor to use the Budget to make a clear commitment to serious social care reform. Including finding the £2.5 billion it needs to stay afloat.

Creating a welfare system that works

We’ve heard speculation the UK Government will put forward money to soften the roll-out of the new Universal Credit benefit system, which is expected to leave some people worse off than they were under the old system.

While it’s crucial they get Universal Credit right, it isn’t the only benefit that needs changing.

Since the introduction of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), thousands of people with MS have been missing out on vital support. Largely as a result of the PIP 20 metre rule.

Getting welfare wrong costs £7.7 million a year

This loss of support is costing the NHS. People with MS say as a result of PIP, they're using GP and A&E services more – totaling at least £7.7 million a year.

We need our Government to commit to a welfare system driven by the needs of the people who depend on it.

Looking at the system as a whole

People don’t exist in one system, so when different parts aren't funded properly the costs are moved around.

We know some people with MS are having to use their benefits payments to pay for social care. And that when people aren’t getting the benefits they need, they’re having to rely more on NHS services. This doesn’t add up.

Unavoidable costs of disability remain unmet

The Equality and Human Rights Commission found disabled people in the UK are increasingly excluded from mainstream society.

In the UK 14 million people are living in poverty and far too often disabled people are being driven into poverty by unavoidable costs.

Big opportunity to right injustices

The Budget is an opportunity for the Chancellor to address these injustices, to provide funding for the NHS and social care. To get the Universal Credit roll-out right and rectify the unfairness of PIP.

It’s a big opportunity. Too big an opportunity to miss.

Speak out for people with MS

We’ll continue to put pressure on the Government about the issues that matter most to our community.

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