On Wednesday 11 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP unveiled the government's latest spending plans for the year ahead.
We have analysed his speech and below we share some of the important announcements for people with Parkinson's.
He announced £5 billion to help the NHS deal with coronavirus, alongside other measures to support employers and employees deal with the virus.
We were pleased he stated that all new and existing students on nursing and allied health professional courses in England will benefit from grants to help with living costs. We hope this will stabilise the workforce.
He also announced that by recruiting more GPs, pharmacists and physiotherapists the government would create 50 million more GP appointments a year.
We welcome the government's pledge to reduce the number of benefit assessments and yesterday's announcement that a minimum award length of 18 months will be introduced for Personal Independence Payments (PIP). This will reduce the frequency of assessments.
The Chancellor also announced that more money will be made available for transitional payments for claimants in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium when they move to Universal Credit.
While these are positive steps, we know that PIP and Universal Credit still aren't meeting the needs of people with Parkinson's, so we'll continue our campaigning to improve the system.
We were pleased to hear that the government will shortly consult on the design of Carers’s Leave: a new in-work entitlement for employees with unpaid caring responsibilities, such as for a family member or dependents.
Other interesting changes announced include:
- A boost to general research and development with £400 million increased funding for universities and £12 million for the National Institute of Health Research to invest in prevention research.
- An extra £50 million to improve accessibility at 12 railway stations including Newtown in Powys, Beeston in Nottinghamshire, Eaglescliffe in County Durham, and Walkden in Greater Manchester.
- £30 million to provide more Changing Places toilets in new and existing buildings.
Social care loses out
Disappointingly the Chancellor didn't announce any new funding or a plan for social care. Instead he stated the government would consult on ideas to address the funding crisis.
While many of these announcements will help people with Parkinson's, we know more must be done. Join our Campaigns Network to make sure people with Parkinson's get the support and services they deserve.