Following the election of the Coalition Government, and the subsequent Conservative victory in this year’s election, spending by the Medical Research Council on cancer research has fallen by a third, according to the Guardian.
Data released by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills have shown that the amount spent on projects relating to the treatment of cancer has fallen from a high of £112m in 2011, to £76.2m in 2014. The amount that is put into these projects is determined by spending commitments made over the previous five years, so this fall in funding is indicative of Conservative and Lib Dem policies in Government, rather than the previous Labour administration.
The figures have emerged after Labour MP Chuka Umunna made a written request to the department, who funds the MRC. The former shadow business secretary said: “The Medical Research Council’s spending on cancer research, including into causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment, has fallen by almost a third since 2010. There are 2.5 million people living with cancer in Britain, and 300,000 new cases are identified each year. Research into better treatments and finding a cure should be a top priority, rather than being first in line for cuts.”
Although it has received additional funding from a variety of Government initiatives, the MRC has seen a reduction in its basic funding from £681m in 2010/11 to £606m in 2014/15.
A spokesperson from the MRC, major current projects including the 100,000 genome project to sequence the DNA of patients, the Oxford Big Data Institute, and the MRC/Cancer Research UK Oxford Institute for Radiobiology would still receive appropriate funding.
He said: “The MRC spend on cancer research is likely to increase over the coming years with the funding of a number of large projects. This work is complimented by charity funding that means the total spent on cancer research in the UK has increased over the last 10 years by £128m in real terms, keeping the UK at the forefront of medical research.”