During these difficult times, the work of charities is more important than ever, in research as well as in other fields. I am, therefore, pleased that, in April, the Government announced a £750 million support package for charities, including medical research charities, to ensure they can continue with their vital work.
I am assured that ministers and officials have met with the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) regularly during the pandemic to discuss many issues, including the potential challenges these charities face as a result of COVID-19. I am also aware that the Department for Health and Social Care is working with the AMRC and with individual charities to understand the impact of the pandemic on the sector, and to ensure that patients continue to benefit from charity-funded research.
Medical research charities are an integral part of the United Kingdom’s world-leading life sciences sector, much of which is based nearby in the Cheshire life sciences corridor. I know that many people in Cheadle work in the life sciences sector, and I will continue to champion the sector, its interests, and its valuable contribution during this pandemic and beyond.
Greater Manchester is also home to five universities, which are vital to medical research. In June, the Government announced a major pack of support for universities to enable them to continue their research and innovation activities. This includes a package of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, supplemented by a small amount of Government grants, to cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 20/21.