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I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising this issue. Mesothelioma is a terrible disease from which more than 3,000 people die in this country every year. The Government are completely committed to supporting treatment, prevention and compensation. In the last three months my noble Friend Lord Prior has had a number of discussions with interested parties, and, as the hon. Gentleman will have noted, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor was able to announce £5 million of funding for a new mesothelioma research centre in last week’s Budget.
The British Lung Foundation has welcomed the £5 million that the Government have announced for a national mesothelioma centre, but when will those funds be released, and how will the Government ensure that funding for research is sustained in the years that follow?
We are engaged in active discussions with the various parties, including charities such as Cancer Research UK, and we have received some interesting submissions from some of the research institutes. Over the coming weeks, we will consider how best to put that £5 million from the Government to work in order to maximise inward investment and build UK leadership in this important centre.