Alzheimer’s Research UK has accused the government of leaving behind the nearly 1 million people with dementia after missing the opportunity to deliver on their pledge to double funding for dementia research.
In the Spending Review, the Chancellor announced plans to provide £95 million for the Office for Life Sciences for delivery of the government’s Life Sciences Vision but made no mention of their 2019 manifesto promise to double dementia research funding. The UK’s leading dementia research charity are now calling for part of the Life Sciences Vision funding to address dementia research.
The Spending Review, which sets out government spending for the next three years, was a prime opportunity to deliver on their promise to increase dementia research to £160 million a year.
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“The Chancellor today missed an opportunity to deliver on its 2019 manifesto promise to double dementia research funding. As the UK’s leading dementia research charity, we feel this lets down the nearly one million people in the UK affected by this devastating condition. More than 50,000 of our campaigners have been loud and clear with the government about how much this increased funding matters to people with dementia.
“Dementia is the only major condition where there are no treatments to slow or stop the progression of the disease. Each year that passes without sustained, increased funding in dementia research means that more and more families will have to deal with the devastating consequences of the condition. This means more memories lost, more heartache as dementia places a huge burden on our country, on our health and our economy.
“Our researchers have made huge progress over the last few years, but we need to go further. COVID-19 has shown the role government can play in harnessing the power of research to tackle a major health challenge. We need to see that approach replicated in dementia.
“We are grateful to all our campaigners who wrote to their MPs, signed our petition and did countless other acts to put pressure on the government. We are inspired by their tireless commitment to dementia research, and we will use that strength to continue pushing for action for people with dementia. With our incredible supporters by our side, we will never stop working towards breakthroughs.”
Mariel Kirton’s Dad Ray was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at just 52. Ever since then she has strived to raise awareness and funds to improve understanding and support dementia research.
She said: “We have been fortunate that Dad continued to be the happy and loving person he has always been for a number of years following his diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2010. However, as his condition has progressed, his mood has changed and he needs a lot of support to do everyday things, cared for by my mum and carers who come to their home. It is hard to see the changes in Dad, especially as he is only 63, and has been living with Alzheimer’s for so long now.
“That is why I support Alzheimer’s Research UK because I believe medical research can make a difference in the future, both in finding ways to diagnose people sooner and to find treatments to improve people’s quality of life but research needs funding. So today’s announcement is incredibly disappointing. Scientists are so close to making breakthroughs that could stop other families going through the heartbreak we have gone through but we need the government to support them in this groundbreaking work.”