Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP outlined the UK government’s spending plans for the next year in the Spending Review. We looked at what they mean for people with MS.
The Spending Review focus was on ‘protecting lives and livelihoods’ as a result of COVID-19. But it also includes some announcements that will impact the public services and support people with MS rely on.
Funding for the NHS
The NHS in England will receive an extra £3 billion, with equivalent funding for health services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This includes:
- £500 million to support mental health services in England
- £1 billion to help reduce long waits for care, scans and operations
- £1.5 billion to ease other pressures in the health service caused by COVID-19.
We’re waiting for more details of how this money will be spent. And whether it includes the support for rehabilitation services we've been campaigning for.
No increase in legacy benefits
As a member of the Disability Benefits Consortium we've been calling on the government to increase legacy benefits, including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), in line with the £20 a week increase given to people on Universal Credit in April.
Last week, we delivered a petition of 119,000 signatures to the Chancellor – thank you to everyone who added their name.
However, the Chancellor still hasn’t listened to our calls. From April 2021, these benefits will rise by just 37p a week, in line with inflation.
Social care and the National Living Wage
Social care funding has largely stayed the same as last year, far short of the extra £1.3 billion the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) says we need.
The UK government has committed that proposals to give adult social care a long term fix will be published next year. They were first promised in 2017. It is deeply disappointing we are still waiting.
People on the lowest wages, including many care workers, will see a pay increase. The National Living Wage for people aged 23 and over will rise from £8.72 to £8.91, effective from April 2021.
Call for more support for medical research charities
£15 billion has been allocated for research and development, which will go towards funding clinical research for new drugs, treatments and vaccines.
How it is spent will be up to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. We’ll be calling for support for medical research charities.
We'll keep campaigning for the UK government to give people with MS the services and support they need.