What the 2021 autumn budget means for people with Parkinson’s

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered the autumn budget on 27 October. We take a quick look at what was announced and how it could impact people with Parkinson's, their families and carers.

NHS funding to address the backlog of care 

The Chancellor has allocated £5.9bn of funding to address the backlog of care in the NHS in England caused by the pandemic, and announced that spending on healthcare will increase before the next election by £44bn.

The focus for this funding will be to cut waiting lists and improve IT in hospitals and care homes, along with surgical hubs to reduce the backlog. 

We welcome this, and call on the UK government to ensure an allocation of the backlog funding is provided specifically to improve Parkinson's care. We also welcome the additional funding for our stretched NHS and care workforce. 

We're asking the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to urgently confirm how much of this funding will support the care of people with Parkinson's in England. Please join us and ask Sajid Javid to share government plans to improve Parkinson's care.    

New research and development funding

Part of the UK government's package includes £5bn new funding for health research and development, including funding for social care research.

Ahead of the budget, Parkinson's UK called on the government to invest £150m into Parkinson's research. We shared how this funding could capitalise on progress in Parkinson's research, and ensure that effective therapies are formulated, tested and reach people with Parkinson's as quickly as possible. 

Social care funding 

The government announced £4.8bn over the next 3 years for local councils in England, partially to support adult social care, meaning that local authorities will see £1.6bn per year.

In the absence of ringfenced funding for social care, it's difficult to gauge how much of this money will end up delivering care for people with Parkinson's and other long-term conditions. 

Ahead of the budget, Parkinson's UK called for the UK government to provide an additional £7bn for social care in line with the recommendations of the Health and Social Care parliamentary committee.

We anticipate 2 government White Papers later this year, focused on England.

One will outline further detail on social care reform, while the other will provide information on plans to integrate the NHS and social care. We call on the UK government to ensure that these papers enable our health and social care staff to provide high-quality, person-centred Parkinson's care. 

Disability benefits 

The government's announcement of a change in the Universal Credit taper will support people with Parkinson's and carers who are in work, with a reduction of 8% in place by the end of November 2021. However this is less generous than the £20 uplift to Universal Credit the government stopped earlier this month. 

A mixed picture for people with Parkinson's 

Laura Cockram, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Parkinson's UK, said:

"We welcome the additional funding announced by the Chancellor to tackle the NHS backlog, but the UK government has failed to set out how this will support more than 120,000 people with Parkinson's in England.

"It’s particularly disappointing that it doesn’t acknowledge the scale of social care reform which is urgently needed, nor an increase in disability benefits to support those living with the condition who are still in work.

"A £5bn pot for health research and development rightly acknowledges the vital role of research in improving health outcomes.

"And we are calling on the government to inject more funding to support Parkinson's research to bolster our innovative work to find new therapies, better treatments and ultimately a cure for Parkinson's. 

"But for right now, we know that people with Parkinson's have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many have been unable to access their usual specialist support and have told us that their symptoms have rapidly deteriorated.

"This budget falls well short of giving us confidence that this government truly has the health and wellbeing of those living with Parkinson's in mind, and we will continue to campaign for improved outcomes for everyone affected by the condition."

Our next steps

We will brief MPs and peers on the impact of the budget on people affected by Parkinson's so that they are prepared for the debates over the coming days.

We'll also be raising our concerns with members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Parkinson's.

Take action

We want to know how much of the funding announced will support the care of people with Parkinson's in England.  

Please email the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to ask how much of this backlog funding has been allocated to Parkinson's care.


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