West Cumbrian MP Jamie Reed has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, calling on him to do more to prevent people affected by cancer from facing financial difficulties as a result of their diagnosis.
This news comes as Macmillan Cancer Support have revealed analysis showing that four out of five people living with cancer are on average £570 a month worse off due to reduced earnings and increased cost.
Macmillan also found that one in three lose an average of £860 per month because they are unable to work or have cut down their hours. Meanwhile, six in seven see their monthly expenses increase by an average of £270 due to costs such as car parking, paying for travel to and from hospital and increased energy bills.
In his letter, the Copeland MP explains that there are currently 15,800 people living with and beyond cancer in Cumbria, and that this figure could rise to 30,800 by 2030. He outlined his concerns about the impact of Government policy, including the decision to cut the Work Related Activities Group of Employment and Support Allowance (WRAG ESA) from £102.15 to £73.10 per week. There are currently 60 people in Copeland living with cancer who claim ESA.
Jamie Reed MP called on the Secretary of State to consult with those affected by the policy, including his constituents, and he offered to work with him to find avenues to prevent people with cancer from facing financial hardship.
Copeland MP Jamie Reed said:
“Organisations like Macmillan Cancer Support do an invaluable job in supporting and advising people affected by cancer and their analysis of the financial difficulties faced by those affected is concerning.
“It is unacceptable that four out of five people living with cancer are on average £570 a month worse off.
“Government must take immediate steps to listen to patients, their families, carers and the organisations that represent them, to find avenues to better support people affected by cancer and other long term conditions.”