Fall in research funding

A House of Commons debate to highlight the plight of dementia research heard how funding fell by 10% last year, despite a pledge from the government in its 2019 manifesto to double spending on such research.

Leading the special debate last week Debbie Abrahams MP, who is co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, urged the government to use the Treasury’s spring financial statement in March to honour its “Dementia Moonshot” promise of raising public funding for research from £83 million to £166 million annually.

“We have cross-party consensus but we are still waiting for the government to bring forward this additional funding,” said Abrahams, who is a Labour MP.  “A Moonshot of investment of £800 million over the next decade could unlock private investment of £1.6 – £1.8 billion.

“We saw last year an actual fall in funding provided to dementia research from £83 million to £75 million.  This is a huge missed opportunity.”

Abrahams, whose own mother was diagnosed with dementia aged 64 and died 10 years’ later, said 85% of researchers were reporting that the pandemic had resulted in fewer research opportunities.

“I believe that research will find a cure for dementia,” she told the Commons.  “We have one of the best life sciences sectors in the world as we have seen over the last two years. They are rarely talked about but they are unsung heroes.”