With my background in science, I know how important charity funded research is to so many important causes and I share your desire to see it continue.
During these incredibly difficult times the work of medical research charities is more important than ever.
The UK Government has held meetings with the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and their members regularly in recent months, covering topics like the potential challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, in particular on cancer-related research in universities. I also know that the Department of Health and Social Care is also working with the AMRC, as well as individual charities, to understand the impact of the pandemic on the sector, and how the UK Government and charities can work together to ensure that patients continue benefiting from charity funded research. Medical research charities are an integral part of the United Kingdom’s world-leading life sciences sector, and I support the work ongoing between the Government and AMRC.
Moreover, the UK Government announced a major package of support in June for universities to enable them to continue their research and innovation activities that are being impacted by Covid-19. This package consisted of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, supplemented by a small amount of government grants, to cover up to 80 per cent of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 20/21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity.
As well as the specific support for cancer charities, the Chancellor has made available £750 million worth of funding for UK charities to enable them to continue providing essential services to those most in need. Where charitable services are devolved the UK Government applied the Barnett formula in the normal way. This funding is being spread across the medical research sector.
Many charities and social enterprises will also benefit from the existing measures announced to support employers and businesses. For example, charities can defer their VAT bills and eligible charities may apply for the loan schemes on the British Business Bank website. The Welsh Government has also supported charities through the Economic Resilience Fund.
I know my Conservative colleagues in the Welsh Parliament will continue to work to ensure that Welsh charities are receiving the support they need.