16 March 2023 Campaigns

On March 15, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt MP, delivered his Spring Statement setting out the Government’s fiscal plans and priorities.

We welcome the confirmation that the Energy Price Guarantee – a limit placed on energy suppliers which protects consumers from significant price increases – will remain at £2,500 for the next three months until June 2023. We campaigned for this extension alongside many other organisations within the sector.

Many people living with MND use assistive equipment such as powered wheelchairs, hoists, communications equipment and assisted respiration. Our research finds that the energy costs associated with charging and using this equipment can total up to £600 per year on top of other household energy costs. The Chancellor’s announcement provides some much-needed clarity on energy costs until July 2023, by which point energy prices are expected to fall below the level of the cap.

We estimate that on average, people living with MND spend an additional £14,500 per year to meet the costs of living with and managing the condition. We will continue to campaign to provide a voice for those living with MND and limit the impact of the cost of living rises on people affected by the condition.

The Chancellor also announced significant reforms to the welfare system, particularly for those who are not currently in work due to health or disability. These reforms are set out in more detail in the Department of Work and Pension’s Health and Disability White Paper, also published on March 15. While we welcome the focus on streamlining access to disability benefits, it is essential the reforms do not place inappropriate work requirements on people who cannot return to work due to the impact of their condition. We intend to respond to the White Paper and will work with the MND community to ensure that those with the condition are best supported when exiting the workforce.

We are disappointed to see no support for unpaid carers in the Chancellor’s budget, and no further investment into social care services. The ongoing workforce pressures affecting the social care services jeopardise access to high-quality care and support, and place a huge burden on unpaid carers. We will continue to campaign for much-needed investment in our health and social care systems to ensure that everyone receives the care they need when they need it.