Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, has welcomed that lifetime financial aid will be given to UK Thalidomide victims as part of the Budget 2021.
Thalidomide was licensed in the UK in 1958 and was widely used by pregnant women to prevent morning sickness. However, the drug led to around 2000 babies being born with birth defects in the UK due to a condition known as thalidomide embryopathy. Around 10,000 children worldwide were born with thalidomide embryopathy. Thalidomide was withdrawn in 1961. The UK subsequently introduced stricter regulations regarding the testing and licensing of drugs through the Medicines Act 1968.
Since 2013, the Thalidomide Health Grant has been providing support to Thalidomide victims. The grant has provided help to more than 400 people in the United Kingdom by providing cash grants that enable people to access specialist care, rehabilitation where needed and treatment. The scheme was originally set to run until April 2023, but the Chancellor has now confirmed that the scheme will be extended to ensure that Thalidomide victims receive financial support for the rest of their lives.
The extension of the scheme starts with a £39 million down payment to cover the next four years, and future funding figures for the health grant will then be reconfirmed every four years.
Richard has previously spoken to one of his constituents about extending the Thalidomide Health Grant and has pushed the Chancellor to ensure that all victims receive the support they deserve for life. The constituent confirmed that Richard had ‘no hesitation’ in offering his support, and that they will be ‘eternally grateful’ for the support Richard showed.
Commenting, Richard said:
“I am simply delighted that the Thalidomide Health Grant has been extended to ensure that all victims of this dreadful tragedy receive the financial support they need and deserve. This financial support goes an enormously long way to ensure a better quality of life for those that receive compensation.
“I know that some of my constituents have been overjoyed to hear the news and it is something that I have been fighting for since my election.
“I want to thank the Chancellor for announcing the Lifetime Health Grant and it is something we should all welcome – it will go a really long way in improving lives.”
To hear more about the work that Richard is doing for North West Durham, you can sign up here or input your details in the form on this page.