Exmination of Witnesses (Questions 157-159)|
MP, DR RUSSELL
WEDNESDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2002
157. Welcome, Minister, Professor Richards and
Dr Hamilton. Thank you very much for coming to help us with our
inquiry, which is really a completion of the work that was put
in a few years ago at cancer services which the Government has
responded to magnificently. Things are beginning to happen, and
really we are trying to find out what has happened and what more
might need to be done and how we can support that effort. Do you
want to start with a statement or, since we only have 45 minutes,
perhaps we can dive ahead. We hope we can prevail on you to answer
most of the questions but, if you need your sidekicks to help,
then we are quite happy with that too. We are concerned about
the Government's commitment to match the charitable funding of
cancer research for 2003. Sir John Pattison told the Committee
that funding was already about 50/50 and the charities we spoke
to, of course, as you have noted, probably, were sceptical about
this claim, and the Department of Health has followed up by saying
that Government expenditure on research for 2001 was £190
million which represents an increase of about £72 million
since 1999, which is welcome. Can you give us a breakdown, please,
of the specific areas in which this £72 million has been
spent? For example, is the Cancer Cell Unit at Addenbrookes in
Cambridge for the MRC included in this particular figure? I know
Professor Richards is an expert on finance these days but perhaps,
Minister, you have an answer to that for us.
(Yvette Cooper) Whilst I am very keen
to answer as many of your questions as possible, Chairman, I think
you are starting at a level of detail that I may defer to the
experts on. Could I just say generally that the Committee asked
us to look in more detail at the investment in cancer by the various
arms of the Government and so we have done that. We have been
through every area itemising what the cancer spend is, and that
is the information we have set out for you and I am very happy
to answer as many further questions on that as you want to put.
I think what is important here is to make this very transparent
because, as part of the work of the National Cancer Research Institute,
which again was one of the recommendations of the Committee, we
need to co-ordinate that expenditure on cancer research and so
we need to be very explicit about where that money is going and
what difference it is making in order to co-ordinate it better,
both with the work being done by the charities, but also the work
being done by industry as well. That is why we have set it out.
Was your specific question on the £72 million?
(Yvette Cooper) This is the NHS support for projects.
Perhaps one of my colleagues will answer the exact question.
159. There is a question about a memorandum
you have mentioned that we may not have received yet.
(Yvette Cooper) We have not replied to the Clerk's
letter yet which is asking for detailed information on this. I
am very happy to send that to you if you want to come back to
(Dr Hamilton) With respect to the Department of Health,
it spent £83.8 million on cancer research in 2000/2001. This
includes £73.2 million on NHS support for projects founded
by the research councils and the charities. The health departments
and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland contributed a combined £12.2 million and that figure
can be broken down into its components as well. The Wales Office
of R&D spent £2.8 million; for Scotland it was £8.6
million and for Northern Ireland £1 million. We have asked
the Medical Research Council to estimate their expenditure on
cancer research in 2000 and 2001 and their early estimate is £58
million. They should be able to provide a firmer figure on that
very soon. The Higher Education Funding Council have estimated
that the universities spend £26 million on cancer research.
They cannot provide a more accurate figure than that; they produced
estimates between £26 and £30 million. We took the lower
figure. In total, other research councils contributed £9.9
million. This is made up of £43,000 from the Economic and
Medical Research Council, £3.5 million from the Engineering
and Physical Sciences Research Council, and £6.34 million
from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
If you add those figures up using a simple calculation, the figure
comes to £191 million.