PENDLE MP Andrew Stephenson has welcomed the Government’s announcement that it will boost the Cancer Drugs Fund by £160m in the next two years.

The fund, which has helped more than 55,000 cancer patients since it was set up four years ago, will be increased from £200m a year to £280m a year until 2016.

It was set up four years ago to provide pioneering drugs to those who need them most, meaning more patients with rare conditions will benefit from life-extending drugs recommended by their doctor.

Conservative Mr Stephenson said: “This is really good news as I have helped Pendle residents get the drugs they need via this fund and it really is a lifeline for them.

“It’s vitally important that as many people as possible have access to these pioneering, life-enhancing drugs, and we need to continue to focus our efforts on increasing access to these innovative treatments.

“By protecting the NHS budget, we have been able to create this fund which has given hope to many thousands of people, their families and friends, and has an essential role in helping us realise our ambition to be the best place in Europe to survive cancer.”

The number of people diagnosed with cancer each year has increased by nine per cent since 2009.