Budget intensifies inequality faced by SCI community

Budget intensifies inequality faced by SCI community

Spinal Injuries Association responds to the Chancellor of the Exchequer the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak’s budget of Wednesday 3 March 2021.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced his second budget since Covid-19 punctured the social and economic foundations of our society.

There was a raft of headline-grabbing measures, but the budget will provide little comfort to the 50,000 spinal cord injured people in the UK.

While we appreciate that we are living in extraordinary times and understand the government faces exceptional pressures, the budget only increased the inequalities our members face.

The budget promised a chance for the government to solve the challenges facing the nation’s beleaguered social care sector.

Social care was conspicuous by its absence in the budget speech itself, and the prospect of long-promised reforms appears diminished. This is devastating news to the SCI community, who are subject to a postcode lottery when it comes to the quality of care received.

Our free advice line (0800 980 0501) has been inundated by people who are facing even more uncertainty in the wake of the pandemic.

Figures cited by the opposition suggest NHS England’s core resource spending will fall from £147.7 billion this year to £139.1 billion next year. Real-terms cuts to these services will only worsen the difficulty SCI people face in getting adequate treatment on the NHS.

But we must be clear. NHS staff have been nothing short of heroic during the pandemic and the 1% pay rise offered to them (which after inflation amounts to 0.3%) is derisory. Spinal Injuries Association would again like to express its sincere gratitude to the near 1.3 million people working in the NHS. Many within the health service are crucial in helping the SCI community live a fulfilled life. These issues are structural – and need trenchant and transformative measures to be resolved.

Our members live in hope that a plan for adequate social care and NHS provision is coming. And fast.

We’re undeterred – and will carry on speaking up through our campaigning and lobbying work in parliament and beyond to overcome the lack of beds in specialist spinal units, poverty, inadequate social care, and barriers to employment our members face.

We continue our fight to improve the lives of spinal cord injured people.

If you would like to help join us in this fight, please register as an SIA member here.