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Campaigning updates

We know you are always interested to hear about the work we do to influence policy and campaign on behalf of our community. And in these times of rapid change and uncertainty, it’s even more important for us to represent the needs and rights of people affected by MS.

Here are some highlights of our recent work:

o Shopping
We know that many in our community have faced challenges getting food and essentials - particularly home deliveries. So, we brought together a group of 24 charities (including the Neurological Alliance, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Alzheimer’s Society) to write to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in England, and to UK supermarkets, about it.

We’ve called for supermarkets to make sure people with disabilities and/or increased risk, and unpaid carers get priority access to supermarkets and deliveries. We’ll continue to raise these issues with governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too.

o Access to services and treatments
As a result of COVID-19, routine appointments, therapies and treatments have been cancelled or delayed where they cannot be delivered safely or virtually, and to release capacity in the NHS. As we move past the peak of the pandemic, we’re engaging with government to ensure that neurological services are included in the NHS’s plan to resume non-COVID care.

o Benefits
As a member (and co-chair) of the Disability Benefits Consortium, we have been involved in their campaign for an increase to benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to match the increase that has been given to Universal Credit claimants. People with disabilities are experiencing additional costs and risks as a result of COVID-19, but are without the extra support they need to manage these.

Over 113,000 people have now signed a petition. Add your signature here.

o Research funding
We briefed selected peers ahead of a virtual House of Lords debate on the challenges faced by the charitable and voluntary sector during the coronavirus crisis.

The peers highlighted the impact of the pandemic on the MS Society and our ability to fund research. And they called on Government to work with the Association of Medical Research Charities to ensure that ‘illness or needs charities do not pay the penalty of today’s crisis’.

We’ll be pushing for more support for charities by asking the Government to meet the costs of extending charity-funded research programmes.