Easington MP Grahame Morris is one of several MPs who have made representations to the Chancellor about the serious impact of Covid-19 on medical research charities.
Last month, the Government announced a £750m package of support for frontline charities. However, as medical research charities do not provide commissioned frontline services, they are unlikely to benefit from this support.
Many medical research charities rely solely on supporters and fundraisers to finance their vital research and campaign work. However, owing to social distancing guidelines, fundraising has dropped significantly since the Covid-19 outbreak. The letter states that the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) estimates that the UK will experience a shortfall of at least £252m of investment by the sector in research and development in this financial year. The AMRC also advise that an additional £141m will be required to support the salaries of research staff on charity-funded grants.
The letter explains that any interruption to the medical research sector caused by financial difficulties would result in a loss or halt of progress for charities seeking to develop new treatments and cures. This, in turn, would have a direct impact on people’s health. As such, medical research charities must be provided with the funding that they require to ensure that their work is not interrupted.
The letter concludes by ‘calling on the UK Government to work in partnership with medical research charities to ensure the viability of their organisations. In the short term, provide financial support to help charities grappling with immediate reductions in their incomes. In the long-term, shore up charitable investment in UK research and development and ensure the UK’s life sciences sector continues to thrive after the pandemic.
Grahame Morris MP said, “While I welcome the Government’s provision for frontline charities, the position of medical research charities, who will not benefit from this financial support, is extremely concerning. These charities carry out vital work; financial disruption will be devastating for the sector and for the people who benefit significantly from their work. The Government cannot allow medical research charities to fall through the net during this crisis; they must provide them with the support that they need as a matter of urgency.”