Peter Hollins, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said in response to the Budget:

“A two per cent rise on tobacco duty makes smoking a little less affordable and will help reduce the number of people who smoke – a habit that still kills more than 100,000 people in the UK.

“This together with a further ten per cent rise on hand-rolled tobacco, which has been increasingly used by smokers as a cheaper alternative to cigarettes, is a welcome step forward.

“Reducing the amount to time to approve clinical trials is great news for heart patients. In recent years increasingly burdensome regulation of clinical research has slowed down progress in the UK. This means patients are currently being denied improvements in treatment and young doctors can lose interest in undertaking life-saving research.

“A faster process means new treatments will reach patients more quickly. But it’s vital the recommendations from the recent Academy of Medical Sciences are implemented in full if we are to achieve this.”