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Our response to the Autumn Statement

Published on 23 November 2016

Catheirne with her local MPEarly 2016: Catherine, who lives with arthritis, meeting her local MP to talk about the cuts to ESAToday (Wednesday 23 November) the Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his Autumn Statement on the UK's financial outlook.

Here's our response on two keys issues for people with arthritis.

The failure to reverse the £30 per week cut to Employment and Support Allowance (Work-Related Activity Group)

Olivia Belle, our Director of External Affairs, said: "We're disappointed by the Government’s decision to not reverse the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) welfare cuts in today’s Autumn Statement.

For the 10 million people with arthritis in the UK the condition attacks what it means to live. For some, simple tasks like holding a pen, typing and commuting to work can be impossible, which can have an impact on their ability to work, and live independently.

Over 73,000 people with arthritis already rely on ESA (WRAG) to get by each week because their condition prevents them from working, paying for essentials like food and heating as well as extra costs incurred due to their condition.

As a charity we once again urge the Government to reconsider these cuts, so disabled people are not pushed into poverty."

On the extra investment announced for research and development in the Autumn Statement:

Our Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Tracey Loftis, commented: "Today’s announcement from the Chancellor of further investment for research and development is positive news for people living with the pain, isolation and fatigue arthritis causes.

With over £100 million of live grants, Arthritis Research UK alone is the biggest funder of research into the cause, treatment and cure of all forms of arthritis in the UK. Last year medical research charities as a whole invested £1.4 billion on medical research.

Owing to the inter-dependent nature of the medical research environment, Government funding plays a key role. This extra investment can enable our researchers to continue to harness the power of exceptional science to make everyday life better for all people with all kinds of arthritis.

It's now vital that Government ensures that charities are included in these new initiatives to boost the investment, and we see continued commitment to long-term sustainable investment in medical research beyond 2020.

We look forward to seeing the detail of this new funding."

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