A new cancer strategy highlighting the importance of early diagnosis

Almost all of us have been affected by cancer in some way; if not diagnosed ourselves it is most likely we will know someone who has been.

Far too often, cancer is caught too late when the disease has progressed and when treatments are less effective. The key to rectifying this is early diagnosis. Last week the Prime Minister announced a new cancer strategy, with the aim of detecting three quarters of cancers in the early stages, compared to around half today. These measures will lead to over 55,000 more people annually living for at least five years after a cancer diagnosis.

As Crawley MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer the issue of early diagnosis is one I have raised including at Prime Minister’s Questions last month, and is a cause I continue to pursue.

An additional announcement last week was the freezing of fuel duty for the ninth year in a row. On behalf of Crawley motorists this is something I urged the Chancellor to do to ensure people can keep more of their hard-earned cash. Previous freezes are now saving the average car driver over £160 a year. Indeed, this is a stark contrast to the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown governments who raised fuel duty 12 times in 13 years.

The Prime Minister also confirmed expansion of our nation’s cadet programme, which gives young people from communities across the country the chance to gain new skills. There are plans for school cadet participation to increase to some 60,000 young people, who will be taught new cyber security skills, with their efforts celebrated during a new national Cadet Week. I have been pleased to welcome XIX Crawley Squadron Air Training Corps to Parliament to thank them for their work.

Additionally, employers will be given more flexibility for how they can use money paid into the Apprenticeship Levy, as well as speeding up the number of high quality apprenticeship standards available for training. Apprenticeships now better meet the needs of businesses, and apprentices are trained for longer and to a higher standard.

Henry Smith MP