Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund


  1.1  Cancer is a major UK public health problem with more than one third of all people developing the disease in their lifetime. Over 150,000 people in the UK die with cancer each year, with over a quarter of a million people being diagnosed. Advances in the prevention and treatment of cancer are required to improve patient care and the health of the nation. Imperial Cancer shares the Government's ambition to meet the "Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation" targets and believes that in the long term these can be built upon by the pursuit of high-quality cancer research.

  1.2  The Imperial Cancer Research Fund is the largest independent cancer research organisation in Europe, spending over £64 million annually on research. It provides long-term support for carrying out interdisciplinary cancer research of an international standard in its own laboratories and in clinical units based in hospitals. The integration of all our research activities into what is effectively a virtual national cancer research network is at the core of Imperial Cancer's research strategy. By sharing and promoting its findings Imperial Cancer contributes greatly to work in other laboratories and hospitals worldwide.

  1.3  The breadth of support for cancer research in this country is very wide. Imperial Cancer alone has over 750,000 supporters, volunteers and people who take part in events on whom we rely upon so very much to survive. Across cancer research charities in this country as a whole, we estimate that approaching two million people participate in some way in helping to fund cancer research.

  1.4  Cancer research taking place in the UK is recognised to be of a very high standard. Imperial Cancer always strives to conduct research of the absolutely highest quality, as only this approach will continue to drive us forward to finding new and innovative answers to cancer as quickly and efficiently as possible.

  1.5  The recent House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology Sixth Report "Cancer Research—A Fresh Look" recommended that at least a further £200 million is needed year on year, if we are to make a significant impact on the cancer problem.


  2.1  Imperial Cancer wishes to highlight the huge mismatch between where the public thinks money raised by the National Lottery for good causes is going and where it actually goes.

  2.2  Imperial Cancer is concerned with the extremely small level of funding that cancer research receives from the National Lottery (less than five pence in every £100). Imperial Cancer believes the National Lottery has completely failed to meet the public's funding priorities.

  2.3  The National Lottery would gain credibility by reflecting people's wishes much more closely of where Lottery money is applied. We believe that a substantial commitment should be made to funding medical and cancer research through the National Lottery, as an additional "good cause" in its own right.

  2.4  Cancer research enjoys a wide breadth of support and participation by the public in the UK and it ranks as the single most important issue when the public are asked what concerns them the most.

  2.5  Palliative care is well addressed via the New Opportunities Fund; no similar money is available to cancer research.

  2.6  The Government spent £112.3 million on cancer research in 1998-99, compared to over £160 million that was invested by cancer research charities. First-class cancer research needs the security of consistent long term funding. The Government's very recent announcement regarding an extra £20 million over the next three years towards cancer research is very welcome but much more investment is needed if the public's expectations on the future incidence and cure rates are to be met.


  3.1  We believe that the National Lottery should match much more closely the public expectations of where Lottery money should go. For the National Lottery to retain its credibility, the public must have greater faith that their funding of the Lottery meets with their aspirations. The public should also be able to recognise far more clearly and transparently how much of the Lottery funds are going towards cancer and medical research.

  3.2  We believe that this Government should establish a separate new Lottery fund specifically for medical research, to be alongside the NLCB, Arts, Sports, Heritage and New Opportunities Fund (NOF). A combination of constraints has meant that the NLCB, along with NOF, have been unable or unwilling to meet the needs of medical research charities. Substantial additional investment in high-quality research is urgently needed so that the Government along with its charitable and commercial partners may make a significant impact on the number of people who die from a range of devastating diseases each year, including cancer.


4.1  Public Image of the National Lottery

  4.1.1  In September 2000, Imperial Cancer commissioned ICM to determine the public's perception of how much National Lottery funding goes towards cancer research and their view on how much should.

  4.1.2  The survey found that when asked to estimate out of every £100 raised so far for good causes, how much they thought was going to cancer research charities, the majority suggested an average amount of at least £12. The actual figure that goes towards cancer research is in fact less than five pence in every £100. This general misperception means that the credibility of the Lottery is at stake. The public believes that cancer research charities such as Imperial Cancer, are receiving a great deal more Lottery money than they actually are.

  4.1.3  Almost 90 per cent of those questioned though that "too little" Lottery money was going to cancer research and of these 75 per cent thought that "far too little" was going to cancer research.

  4.1.4  When the same survey asked the public how much Lottery money they would like to see going to cancer research charities, the average answer was over £27 out of every £100. 28 per cent answered £40 or more. The current actual figure is less than five pence in every £100.


  4.2.1  Over £8.8 billion has been raised so far for the good causes, £16.3 million to medical research in general (0.19 per cent) and within this only £4.4 million to cancer research (0.05 per cent).

  4.2.2  Since the inception of the National Lottery in 1993, the only good causes to have funded cancer or medical research is the National Lottery Charities Board (NLCB). All the remaining good causes do not support medical research.

  4.2.3  The NLCB receives almost 17 per cent of good cause money. To date it has awarded nearly £1.5 billion. Cancer research has received just £4.4 million of this , which works out to be around 30 pence in every £100 of NLCB money.

  4.2.4  For the last three years, Imperial Cancer has commissioned the Future Foundation to undertake regular surveys to establish which types of cause have the biggest appeal to the public. Cancer research continually ranks (scoring 20 per cent) as the single most important issue when the public are asked what concerns them the most, with child welfare just a short way behind at 18 per cent and protection of animals for example at 8 per cent.

  4.2.5  Imperial Cancer has welcomed the opportunity provided by this inquiry to make comments and recommendations about the operation of the National Lottery. We would welcome the opportunity to answer any questions the Committee may have in person.

September 2000

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