Rachel Reeves – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the HM Treasury

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Rachel Reeves on 2016-07-06.

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 2.15 of the Budget 2016, on funding for mesothelioma research, who in his Department is responsible for the decision to award that funding to four institutions centred around Imperial College.

Greg Hands

The award of £5 million for Mesothelioma to establish a National Centre for Mesothelioma Research was in response to an application for charitable funds in order to urgently address the anticipated imminent high mortality rate amongst Royal Navy Veterans and dockyard workers. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made a series of Banking Fines announcements since October 2012. Throughout all of these his intention has always been that the fines would be allocated to good causes including Military and Emergency Services charities and related good causes that represent the ‘best of values’. This award was committed by the Chancellor in accordance with his intent for the use of LIBOR fines articulated above.

The National Mesothelioma Centre, to which the funds have been committed, will be a collaboration between four leading institutions which have a major interest in the treatment of mesothelioma: the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI) at Imperial College, the Royal Brompton Hospital, the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), and the Royal Marsden Hospital. Scientists at NHLI and ICR have considerable expertise in the discovery of the genetic mutations which cause cancer, including mesothelioma, and in particular in the identification of ‘driver’ mutations which can be potential targets for new treatments. ICR has considerable experience of pulling through novel therapies into clinical practice. Their NHS partner hospitals – Royal Brompton and Royal Marsden Hospitals as national specialist centres have mesothelioma patients referred to them from across the UK. This collaboration will form the hub of the Centre whose spokes will engage all other hospitals in the UK to which mesotheliomas are referred and treated. This will thus form the basis of a network to enable rapid evaluation of potential new treatments. The funds therefore have been committed to establish a National Centre for Mesothelioma research, rather than to just 4 specific hospitals/research centres.

Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor, the driving force behind the application, has, as per his original intention stated in his funding application, engaged across the Mesothelioma community, with a view to forming a steering group for the centre. Those he has contacted include: the British Lung Foundation, who have offered to fund raise with the centre for further resources for mesothelioma research; Ms Liz Darlison, of Mesothelioma UK; the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund; and the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum; Dr Robert Rintoul from Cambridge University; Prof Anne Willis and Marion Macfarlane and Dr John Le Quesne from Leicester University; and Prof Luciano Mutti from Manchester University. They have all expressed their support for the intention that these funds be used as a platform to foster collaborative research into an effective treatment for mesothelioma across the UK.

The grant to the National Mesothelioma Centre is subject to standard grant terms and conditions including a reporting requirement to ensure that the funds are used as intended. It is not policy to publish all documentation relating to LIBOR awards, due to the large number of applications and associated correspondence.