One of Britain’s biggest charities is calling on the Government to ditch its proposed £30-a-week cut in benefit for people with cancer who are too ill to return to work, saying it risks “pushing the most vulnerable over the edge”.
Macmillan Cancer Support, which provides financial support as well as specialist health care and information to patients, says the planned reduction through the Conservatives’ Welfare Reform and Work Bill could leave many without a financial lifeline.
In a letter to the Herts and Essex Observer, the charity’s senior development manager for the East of England, Rukshana Kapasi, said that Macmillan was highlighting the extra financial burden many people with cancer face as a result of treatment costs and/or a loss of income.
Last year, more than 1,250 people with cancer in Herts and Essex depended on a Macmillan grant to help them with treatment costs, receiving around £380,000 for vital essentials such as heating bills, clothing, bedding and transport to and from hospital.
Nationally, more people with cancer than ever before – over 85,000 – depended on the charity to understand and access the Government benefits and tax credits system, including getting help to fill in complex and time-consuming forms, as well as representation at tribunals by its local benefits advice services.
Ms Kapasi said: “The growing number of people with cancer turning to us with money worries is a stark reminder of the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis, when, on average, income halves and outgoings rocket.