Government failure to deliver Dementia Moonshot pledge two years on jeopardises vital research breakthroughs
As Members of Parliament, led by Debbie Abrahams, debate the issue in the House of Commons, Alzheimer's Society warns that without crucial funding, progress in dementia research could grind to a halt.
Alzheimer’s Society is calling on Government to urgently deliver on a 2019 manifesto pledge to double dementia research funding as MPs meet to debate the issue.
Today (Thursday 10 February), the House of Commons will sit for a debate in the Main Chamber on dementia research, led by Debbie Abrahams MP, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia.
The debate comes at a crucial time for dementia research, as the Government are yet to deliver their General Election ‘Dementia Moonshot’ promised more than two years ago.
Alzheimer’s Society is urging Government to make good on the pledge and says researchers are ‘on the cusp’ of major discoveries which could change the treatment and care of people living with dementia – but urgent funding is needed.
Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society said:
'We’re on the cusp of major discoveries in dementia research, with exciting new drugs, treatments and tests just within our grasp – and the chance of cementing the UK’s place as a world leader in the field.
But without the ‘dementia moonshot’ funding that was promised more than two years ago in the Conservative manifesto, progress in lifesaving dementia research is under threat.
'The 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK have been worst hit during the traumatic two years of the pandemic, but we are still not seeing dementia research given the same priority as other conditions. It’s devastating that we’re yet to see the full funding pledge met.
'As MPs debate this critical issue today, we urge the Government to pay attention and unambiguously deliver on their commitments to properly fund dementia research, and as part of an ambitious, well-resourced new National Dementia Strategy.'
What is the Dementia Moonshot?
The Moonshot is a commitment made by Government that pledges to double dementia research funding from £83m to £166m each year for the next decade, meaning an extra £800m+ for dementia over ten years.
However, researchers and research centres, like the UK Dementia Research Institute, are still waiting to even receive a timescale or a funding plan from the Government to enable them to undertake essential research on new drugs and treatments.
The pandemic has also had a hugely detrimental effect on dementia research, with Alzheimer’s Society’s planned investment in research dropping by 42% in 2019-2020. The Association of Medical Research Charities figures also revealed a drop of £200m in charity investment from 2019 to 2020.
Debate in the House of Commons
Today’s debate follows the publication of last year’s APPG report conducted with Alzheimer’s Society, Fuelling the Moonshot: Unleashing the UK’s potential through dementia research.
The report, which followed an inquiry conducted by APPG members, sets out the current state of dementia research in the UK, and how it can be best supported, including how the Government’s promised Dementia Moonshot could best be utilised.
Since this pledge, people with dementia have been the worst hit by the pandemic, accounting for the most excess deaths with coronavirus, with many others seeing their conditions worsening due to lockdowns and isolation.
Debbie Abrahams MP, Labour MP and co-chair of the APPG on Dementia, said:
'Dementia currently costs our economy £34.7bn each year – yet Government funding on dementia research is inadequate and doesn’t meet the scale of the challenge.
'We’ve shown through the Covid vaccine roll-out that the UK is a global leader in life sciences, and can pave the way in making a serious difference to tackle today’s health challenges. We have a chance now to put the same focus on dementia research, and give hope to the 900,000 people with dementia across the country desperate for a cure and quality care.'
The Government have made some big promises on dementia research, it’s now time for these to be delivered and achieve the dementia cure that is well within our reach.
Campaigning for investment in dementia research
With over 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK today and that number set to rise to 1 million by 2026, research has never been more important, yet it’s been chronically underfunded for many years. We are campaigning to make sure that dementia research gets the funding it needs.