Henry Smith MP welcomed Macmillan Cancer Support to Parliament for the launch of their new report on the financial impact of cancer entitled ‘Cancer - A Costly Diagnosis?’
The report focuses on people’s individual experiences of the financial impact of cancer and highlights three particular policy areas; the implementation of Universal Credit, the support banks and building societies give people living with cancer and the cost of travel insurance.
“Over 100 people, many of them living with cancer, came to the Houses of Parliament to share stories of the financial barriers they face after a diagnosis.
“I was pleased to be a co-sponsor of this event and I’m grateful to those Crawley residents who contacted me expressing their concerns.
“I’m grateful to the Work & Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd, for speaking with and listening to patients. I’ll continue to work with Macmillan Cancer Support on their campaign to ensure people living with cancer get the right support and I would welcome hearing from more constituents living with cancer on the impact their diagnosis has had on them.”
One in two of us born after 1960 will get cancer in our lifetime, and while the physical and emotional consequences of cancer are well-known, the financial impact of a diagnosis can be devastating and four in five people are, on average, £570 a week worse off as a result of their diagnosis.
The financial impact of cancer can move someone from a position of relative security to one of financial distress within a short space of time. People living with cancer are still not always getting the right support they need from the Government and from financial service providers. Without this support, the financial shock of cancer will turn into a crisis.
To help with the financial impact of cancer Macmillan is asking the Government to introduce the legal requirement of a duty of care to ensure all financial services providers act in the best interests of their customers. The House of Commons Treasury Select Committee have backed these calls in their recent report looking at the support our financial institutions are giving vulnerable people.
Macmillan also say the travel insurance market is stacked against those affected by cancer with many continuously facing disproportionately high costs and some premiums as high as £10,000 for a simple family holiday. Macmillan is calling for regulators to work with the insurance industry to ensure that affordable and appropriate insurance is available to people after a cancer diagnosis by conducting a full market study.
Macmillan is also concerned that Universal Credit is failing to meet the needs of people with cancer, with too many losing out on vital support. Macmillan say that their support line and face-to-face benefit advisors are telling them that Universal Credit can be difficult to apply for, challenging to get the right support and many people face long waits for payments. They are calling for the Government to make it easier for organisations like Macmillan to support people through their claim.