Rob Burrow's dad criticises government's 'delay tactics' over MND research funding

Rob Burrow and Geoff Burrow
Rob Burrow and dad Geoff in 2021 Credit: PA

The father of rugby league legend Rob Burrow has said he is "absolutely sick" of government "delay tactics" in providing funding for research into motor neurone disease (MND).

The Burrow family have campaigned to raise awareness of the neurological condition since the former Leeds Rhinos player was diagnosed in 2019.

His father, Geoff, posted on social media to express his frustrations at the speed of government action after it previously committed to £50million to help find new therapies.

He said: "I am absolutely sick of the government's delay tactics for MND funding.

"Please government ministers do not insult me with excuses and your statistics - just act now to save lives - please."

He added: "MND is not incurable, it's under funded."

Geoff Burrow last week appealed directly to health secretary Steve Barclay to "get the rest of the £50 million promised for the MND Institute delivered without delay."

The Burrow family alongside former Leeds Rhinos player Kevin Sinfield have spearheaded numerous fundraising campaigns to raise awareness and funds for the disease.

Last month thousands of runners took part in the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon to raise money for MND charities and a new specialist treatment centre in Leeds.

Burrow himself has previously accused the government of having "blood on its hands" for delays and red tape around the money pledged.

Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield during the 2023 Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon Credit: Press Association

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are determined to improve the lives of people with MND and congratulate Rob and Lindsey Burrow for their incredible fundraising and awareness work.

“Since 2017/18, we’ve spent over £74 million on MND research and we’re speeding up research to find a cure by accelerating £29.5 million of the £50 million government funding for MND to be invested through specialist research centres."

The spokesperson said researchers can put forward proposals to access the remaining £20.5 million.

Chris James, Director of External Affairs for the MND Association said: "We are extremely frustrated that there have been delays in the Government delivering on its promise to direct £50 million into targeted MND research.

"A third of people diagnosed with MND die within a year and half within two years – every day’s delay in finding effective treatments is a day too long for the MND community.

Mr James said: "The Department of Health and Social Care has delivered its portion of the funding.

"We are pleased that the teams involved are now speaking to their colleagues at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology about the streamlining of the processes involved in order to speed up the delivery of the remaining funds.

"We hope to welcome an announcement shortly from the DSIT," he said.

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