Spring Budget 2024: funding for epilepsy research announced

Published: March 07 2024
Last updated: March 26 2024

Grace Wood | Hunt announced a £45 million investment into research for cancer, dementia and epilepsy

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announces the Spring Budget. Photo: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street
Photo: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street

Epilepsy Action has welcomed the news in the government’s Spring Budget that more money will be given to fund epilepsy research.

Speaking on 6 March, the chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a £45 million investment into research for cancer, dementia and epilepsy.

The increased investment in “life sciences” was part of the government’s annual Spring Budget.
Hunt said the money would help fund research into new medicines.

Epilepsy Action deputy chief executive Rebekah Smith said: “It’s really encouraging to see additional funding for epilepsy research being included in this week’s budget announcement by the chancellor of the exchequer.

“Epilepsy affects around one in 100 people in the UK, making it one of the most common neurological conditions, yet it is rarely referred to and desperately needs more investment.

“While progress has been made in many areas of epilepsy research, there is still so much more to be done, from the effectiveness and safety of medication to new ways of treating the condition. Better treatment choices and seizure control for people with epilepsy mean better quality of life, and less limitations in so many areas of their life.

“We await more details on which key areas will be prioritised, but welcome the news of much-needed investment to improve the lives of people with epilepsy.”

The chancellor also announced the government would be funding the NHS Productivity Plan, which includes £3.4 billion towards modernising IT systems. Hunt said improving NHS productivity would “save billions”.

Hunt added that the UK’s ability to manufacture new medicines would be boosted by plans for a £650 million AstraZeneca investment to build a vaccine manufacturing hub in Liverpool and expand the company’s footprint in Cambridge.

The news follows concerns earlier this year that epilepsy had been left out of the government’s Major Conditions Strategy, and that there was no mention of measures to address epilepsy-specialist shortages in the NHS Long Term Workforce plan.

An government announcement on March 7 said the £45 million would be used to “launch the careers of the next generation of medical researchers”.

It added the grants would be delivered through the Medical Research Charities Early-Career Researcher Fund.