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Headway disappointment as Chancellor’s Autumn Statement fails brain injury survivors Main Image

Headway disappointment as Chancellor’s Autumn Statement fails brain injury survivors

Wed 22 Nov 2023

Headway criticises the Government's Autumn Financial Statement for failing to back brain injury survivors with necessary financial support.

Headway has expressed disappointment that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt did not respond to calls to set aside funding for those living with acquired brain injury (ABI) in the 2023 Autumn Statement.

Headway, alongside other brain injury charities, has repeatedly called for specific funding for brain injury survivors through its Budget for Brain Injury campaign.

In an open letter to the Chancellor in October, Headway CEO Luke Griggs, alongside CEOs from other brain injury charities, asked Mr Hunt to ensure that the long-promised ABI Strategy was supported by funding ‘to ensure that people living with acquired brain injury receive the services they desperately need’.

Following the Autumn Statement announcement, Sarah Russell, Headway’s Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager, said: “We are sorely disappointed that the Autumn Statement has not delivered any dedicated funding for those living with ABI.

“The government’s commitment to the publication of an ABI Strategy is recognition of the issues faced by ABI survivors. However, this commitment has to be backed by funding if it is to have meaning.

“There remains an urgent need for essential funding to provide survivors with the community-based rehabilitation services that many rely on.

“We are so grateful to the thousands of people who took part in our ‘Budget for Brain Injury’ campaign. Please be assured that we will continue to push for more funding and recognition for brain injury survivors and their loved ones.”

‘Back to Work Plan’ announced

The Autumn statement also announced a range of steps for people who are long-term unemployed and not engaging sufficiently with processes to build work-related skills or find work.

The ‘Back to Work Plan’ includes a series of support programmes for disabled people and people whose ill-health affects their ability to work.

In response, Headway has called for more detail on the proposed changes to be published in order to more fully assess their impact on brain injury survivors.

“Many brain injury survivors suffer from debilitating mental ill-health alongside a variety of physical and cognitive issues,” said Sarah. “Greater support to cope with these effects of brain injury is much needed and, at this point, it is not clear how the programmes will support people with these kind of health issues.

“Tailored, individual support to help people to re-enter the workforce following brain injury – whether in their old job, or in a new area of work – would be welcomed.

“But it is imperative that this support is provided by experts with specialist knowledge of brain injury and an understanding of how the effects can impact an individual’s ability to work.

“This is particularly important regarding the multiple ‘hidden’ effects of brain injury, which often last a lifetime. As an added complication, both the hidden and more apparent effects of brain injury are often fluctuating and generally misunderstood.

“It is essential that the welfare benefits system treats brain injury survivors with dignity, respect and fairness. Forcing people to undertake inappropriate work-related activity or face the risk of losing essential financial support would be entirely unacceptable.”

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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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