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How will the Budget 2017 affect people with arthritis?

Published on 27 November 2017

On 22nd November, the Chancellor Phillip Hammond, announced the Government’s plans for taxation and spending. Our policy, public affairs and campaigns teams have been working hard to increase the Government’s investment into services that will benefit people with arthritis, as well as trying to protect budgets which are at risk of reduction.

If you are affected by arthritis, here are the top four topics you need to know about.

Science and research – industrial strategy

To meet our ambition of finding new treatments, and eventually a cure, for arthritis, it’s essential that money is invested in the life sciences sector. It’s life sciences such as biology and medicine that develop new treatments and therapies. The budget delivered welcome news for the research sector, with life sciences specifically highlighted as an area where the Government wants the UK to be a world-leader. The Chancellor provided further detail on previously announced funding, in support of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Announcements included:

  • The funding for the National Productivity Investment Fund will increase to over £31 billion, up from £23 billion in the Autumn Statement. £820 million of this is earmarked for research and development (R&D) in 2018/19.
  • There has been an increase in the R&D expenditure credit available to businesses.
  • Immigration rules will change making it easier for highly skilled researchers to enter and stay in the UK.


We want everyone with arthritis to have timely access to high-quality treatment and advice through the NHS, but we all know that the NHS is struggling to meet demand. The Government announced additional funding to support the NHS including:

  • An additional £6.3 billion for the NHS in England, including £2.8 billion to ‘help improve performance targets on waiting times’.
  • A commitment to fund pay awards for NHS staff including nurses, midwives and paramedics.

Welfare and benefits

We know that some people with arthritis get to a point where the impact of their condition means they need to rely on the welfare system. Whilst there were no announcements on changes to individual disability benefits, the Chancellor acknowledged concerns about the implementation of Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a new benefit which replaces six other benefits with a single payment. His announcements included:

  • A £1.5 billion package to address concerns about the operational delivery of Universal Credit.
  • A series of measures including removing the seven-day waiting period applied to new claims, changing the advances system so that a full month’s payment can be accessed within five days of application, and new Universal Credit claimants also in receipt of Housing Benefit will continue to receive it for two weeks.

Social care

Social care is an issue many people affected by arthritis are really passionate about. We were disappointed that the Chancellor did not focus on this topic during his budget, or commit to any increase in funding. That said, a few days before the Budget, the Government announced its intention to consult on the social care system through a Green Paper in Summer 2018. However, as this will just lay out the options for discussion, it only marks the start of a long and complex process. Many people receiving social care need improvements as soon as possible. We hope the Government addresses the challenge of providing effective social care as soon as possible.

Our policy team will examine the impact these announcements will have in reality, and - alongside our campaigns and public affairs teams - will continue to push for improvements which will benefit people with arthritis across the country.

Back to Arthritis Research UK press releases

Government announces proposals for social care

Social care worker with a lady

On 16 November 2017, the Government announced that it will publish a green paper on social care and support by summer 2018. We welcome this but are concerned by some of the details.

Is your MP an Arthritis Champion?

Big Ben

Find out how UK MPs and MSPs can champion people living with arthritis in their local area.

For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.