§ Mr. Hepburn
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the money allocated for palliative care in the cancer plan. 
§ Ms Blears
Estimates from Help the Hospices show that the level of statutory funding for voluntary hospices has increased by 14 per cent, in cash terms over the past two years. However, it is clear that only slow progress has been made towards meeting our commitment in the NHS Cancer Plan of an extra £50 million for specialist palliative care by 2004. That is why we are setting up a central budget for the £50 million from 2003–04. I refer my hon. Friend to the response I gave him today.