TATTON MP George Osborne visited East Cheshire Hospice last week fresh from delivering good financial news for the charity.

Mr Osborne revealed in his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on December 3 that all 220 hospices in the UK will be exempt from paying VAT.

The announcement, which recognises the vital work undertaken by hospices caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses, is worth around £78,000 each year to East Cheshire Hospice.

Mr Osborne's visit coincided with the launch of a Dementia End of Life Practice Development team to help tackle the growing problem of dementia in Cheshire.

That money that would have gone to the Treasury will free up funds for the new service which involves a partnership between East Cheshire Hospice and St Luke's Hospice, in Winsford, which covers mid and south Cheshire.

Mr Osborne said: “The East Cheshire Hospice is such a force for good in our local community, as I see every time I visit it. Last week I helped all hospice charities by refunding their VAT.

“I am proud to launch East Cheshire Hospice’s new team to improve end of life care for people in our area. I recognise the devastating impact this disease has on sufferers and their families, which is why I announced additional funding for research into the condition in my Autumn Statement last week.

“This is on top of our commitment to spend £66 million on research by 2015. We are determined to beat dementia and ensure that patients have the best possible care until we do."

East Cheshire Hospice and St Luke's will pay most of the £390,000 development costs over the next two years with Dementia UK providing some support.

Mike Pyrah, Hospice Director at East Cheshire Hospice, said: "We're seeing more patients coming to the hospice with multiple conditions, any of which could end their lives. Dementia is one of those conditions that can complicate already complex situations if not managed effectively.

"We needed to take action so that the knowledge and experience we have at the end of life care is shared with all those professionals in our community who're looking after those in the earlier stages of life-limiting illness.

"The new team will help to train and mentor professionals so they can better support those with dementia and their families before they need hospice care."