AN MP revealed her family history with dementia as she called for more government cash and support to tackle the ‘life-changing disability’.

Speaking at Westminster, Julie Cooper said millions were affected by the disease but, despite this, it was the ‘poor relation’ in terms of research.

The Labour health spokeswoman and Burnley MP told care minister Caroline Dinenage that £2.4billion needed to be invested in tackling the causes and treatment of the condition and on supporting the families of its sufferers.

Mrs Cooper was speaking in a debate on Living with Dementia in the House of Commons' second Westminster Hall chamber.

She said: “Dementia has a huge human cost. My grandmother suffered with dementia—she did suffer—and, regrettably, the support that was needed was not available to my family.

“Each year, the total cost of dementia to the UK is £26 billion, and that cost is expected to more than double in the next 25 years.

“I pay tribute to carers, both paid and unpaid, who do so much to make life bearable for those who are suffering. I apologise for saying suffering, but personal experience teaches me that that is the reality.

“Dementia is a life-changing disability that affects millions of people in the UK. Some 850,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with dementia, including more than 1,000 people in my constituency of Burnley.

“More than 24 million people have a friend or family member who lives with dementia.

“Action is needed in three main areas. First, prevention is crucial.

“In the area of research, it is clear that dementia is the poor relation.

“While prevention measures and research to achieve early diagnosis and future treatment are still so inadequate, it is vital that those who are diagnosed with dementia are given access to a comprehensive package of support.

“Local authorities and health providers ​need to collaborate to offer a package of support that is both comprehensive and accessible.

“The government must introduce a dedicated £2.4 billion dementia fund to cover the additional costs of delivering dementia specialist care, and end the inequity between dementia and other diseases that leaves affected families facing astronomical care costs.

“That fund would enable timely access to an integrated package of support and facilitate specialist training for all care workers.”

Mrs Dinenage said: “I have had two very close family members living with dementia: my grandmother and my uncle, ​who passed away just before Christmas. I have experienced at first hand the impact that dementia has, both on the person who is living with it and those who love and care for them.

“The challenge is to transform the lives of people with dementia, as well as their carers and their families, through better awareness, care and research.

“We have made significant progress but we know there is still much more to do. One of the key successes has been improved diagnosis. .

“We are also meeting our commitment on government funding for dementia research of £60 million or more each year.

“Over the past year we have given councils access to an additional £10 billion ­— an eight per cent real-terms increase.

“We have committed to publishing the adult social care Green Paper at the earliest opportunity. I share everybody’s frustration about the delays, but it will set out ideas for an element of risk pooling to save individuals from catastrophic costs.

“We are committed to ensuring that everybody has access to the care and support they need. More short-term social care funding will be agreed alongside the rest of the local government settlement.”