Business secretary pledges support to £50m research package into motor neurone disease following campaign backed by Rob Burrow

The Business Secretary has said he will support a bid to the spending review that would see £50 million allocated for research into motor neurone disease (MND) following a campaign backed by Leeds Rhinos favourite Rob Burrow.

By Emma Ryan
Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 4:45 am

Campaigners are calling for the Government to make the investment over five years, with Rob Burrow and former Scottish international and union player Doddie Weir, among those with the disease, who handed in a signed letter to Downing Street today calling for the funds.

A coalition of MND organisations, researchers and campaigners has submitted a funding bid to the Government's spending review process.

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Winning National Television Award for their documentary about Motor Neurone Dise...
Retired Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow continues to campaign for more research into MND treatment and cures.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: "Absolutely. And in relation to this question, I pointed out the UKRI spent £15.9 million in the last fiscal year (on MND research). The UKRI portion of our department's spend is being negotiated in the course of the spending review and absolutely I would be very happy to follow the guidance of the honourable gentleman and make sure that we properly fund research into motor neurone disease."

Also in the questions session, Labour MP Karl Turner (Kingston upon Hull East) asked whether the minister agreed with Mr Burrow and Mr Weir that "we need to act now", to which he replied that he would be happy to meet Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed in December 2019.

Mr Kwarteng said: "I don't know Rob but I'm very pleased that his tireless work has been raised today. We've had a wider offer for medical research charities and we've announced £204 million for Research England in the fiscal year 2020-21. But I'm very happy to meet with him and see what more we can do to pursue this important topic."

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle added: "Rob Burrows is an inspirational person" and "a great man".

Rob Burrow in his playing days for Leeds Rhinos.