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Muscular Dystrophy UK’s comment on the Chancellor’s Spring Budget statement

15 March 2023

There were four elements of today’s Spring Budget (15 March 2023) that may have particular relevance to people living with muscle-wasting and weakening conditions. We will be analysing the detail of the statement and accompanying announcements over the coming days.

We were pleased to hear Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP confirm that the Energy Price Guarantee rise has been postponed from April until July. As Martin Lewis highlights, this effectively means that a rise in cost is cancelled.

We were also interested to hear the plans to safeguard access to leisure centre pools across England by providing £40million to make pools more energy efficient and £20million to help centres deal with rising costs. We will be exploring what impact this might have on hydrotherapy provision in the UK as part of our campaign on the provision of hydrotherapy.

Disability payments

It was also announced that government is publishing a white paper on disability benefits reform in which the Work Capability Assessment will be abolished. This means people may have the ability to seek work without losing benefits, which would be a positive step. A new support programme will be set up (Universal Support), for disabled people going into work. We understand there will be some requirements for people who are able to work to establish themselves in roles.

We will provide a further assessment of what these changes might mean for our community, but initially would highlight (as we did in response to Elon Musk) that there are still discriminatory barriers, attitudes, and practices in the workplace that keep people out of jobs.

Medicines regulation

The budget highlighted that MHRA will move to automatic approval of medicines already approved by major regulators elsewhere, with the intention of speeding up medicines approval in the UK.

We will publish more details soon about what some of the other measures announced in this statement will mean for people living with a muscle-wasting condition.

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