A VAT waiver lay behind health secretary Frank Dobson's announcement of a further boost to cancer services at the Labour Party conference.

Mr Dobson told the conference that£93m from the New Opportunities Fund, announced the week before the conference, meant 'patients at over 200 hospitals' would benefit from the 'biggest ever boost for cancer services'.

'Now we can go one step further, ' he said, announcing a further£23m 'tranche of money' from the fund for new or replacement equipment at 24 hospitals.

But NOF spokeswoman Pat Murray said: 'This is not additional to the£93m. Customs & Excise has waived VAT on the machines. This has freed up another£23m.'