Ian Austin MP

Independent MP for Dudley North


Recent Activity

Dudley North MP Ian Austin has backed a community campaign to feed hundreds of local children over the summer holidays.

He dipped into the Good Causes Fund he set up when he refused to take the MPs’ pay rise and donated £300 to back the Holiday Café, co-ordinated by The Friends of Grange Park. 

The Rotary Club, the Community Forum and local businesses Klick Business Solutions, Thomas Dudley LTD and MET Recruitment all donated money to support the project which provides tokens which families exchange for a children’s meal and a drink in a network of local cafés.

Lunch On The Run, Gather, Bake ‘n’ Butty, The Coffee Shop, Fountain Arcade Café, have all supported the project and provided a range of meals to suit all tastes, and give children in receipt of the token a hot meal.  In the first 10 days the project served 90 meals, which goes to show the need we have in Dudley.

The project will run throughout the school holidays and it is anticipated more than 300 meals will be provided to hungry children.

Ian Austin said:

“It is a scandal that projects like this are needed at all in this day and age, but more and more families are struggling to make ends meet or being hit by benefit cuts and lots of children are going without a square meal, so well done to Cathy Bayton, the Friends of Grange Park and local businesses for helping out.

“I always thought it was unacceptable for MPs to have a big pay rise when times are so tough for many local families and I’m keeping my promise to use the money to support good causes instead."

Cllr Cathy Bayton, one of the ward councillors for St James said:

“We trialled this at Easter and it was huge success so we decided to roll it out on a larger scale, but without the fantastic support of local businesses, The Rotary Club, MP Ian Austin and the Community Forum fund this would not have been possible."

Andrea Childs, CEO of Klick Business Solutions, praised the innovation of the project, saying:

“We like the fact that the money goes straight to the aim of the project – feeding children – there are no administrative costs”. 

Karen Paskin, Chair of the Friends of Grange Park said:

"We know that nationally families, are struggling to make ends meet over the summer holidays. 

"There is data, from The Child Poverty Action Group to say that 70% of children who are living in poverty live in a family with one or more adult in employment. 

"In St James’s Ward in Dudley North, 35% of children are living in poverty so we thought the Holiday Café Project would help to alleviate some of the pressures families are under.”



Dudley North MP Ian Austin took time out to help celebrate the first anniversary of the Beacon Centre for the Blind's "FabLab".

The lab provides those who are blind or living with a visual-impairment the opportunity to develop new skills.

It helps people with sight loss to learn state of the art digital and design skills to help their confidence and find employment.

Trainees are able to learn about 2D graphic design and 3D modelling, printing methods, laser cutting, and engraving.

Any income from sales of products manufactured in the Fab Lab are pumped back into the charity. You can read more about the Fab Lab here: https://www.beaconvision.org/fab-lab/

Austin caught up with Lisa Cowley, the centre's Chief Executive and former Goodyear worker Cyril Barrett, who runs the 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Fund which has donated a huge amount to good causes in the Black Country.

Ian Austin said:

“The Fab Lab is a brilliant initiative to help those who are blind or visually impaired get the skills and confidence they need.

"Cyril is a great man - he and his former colleagues from the old Goodyear Plant have donated a huge amount to good causes in the Black Country.

"They use money from the 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Fund to help local charities."


Dudley MP Ian Austin has criticised the decision by NHS Scotland to refuse funding for drugs to tackle cystic fibrosis.

Austin says it is bad news for patients elsewhere in the UK as it will reduce pressure on the NHS to fund the drugs as well.

He spoke out after the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) said it would not be recommending the routine use of cystic fibrosis drugs Orkambi and Symkevi by NHS Scotland.

They claimed there is insufficient evidence for the long-term health benefits to justify their cost.

The Scottish Government and the drugs’ manufacturer, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, have confirmed they are working towards negotiating a deal to ensure the widest possible availability to these lifesaving medicines.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust are calling on the company to take urgent action to secure vital and fair access to their medicines.

On Tuesday 27th August, the Trust will be asking the Cystic Fibrosis Community to come together to make their voices heard.

Orkambi is the first medicine to target the root cause of CF in the UK and has been proven to significantly reduce periods of acute ill health that lead to hospitalisation and permanent health damage for people with CF.

David Ramsden, Chief Executive at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said:

“The SMC’s advice will come as a shock to people with cystic fibrosis and their families in Scotland. While talk of further negotiation between Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the Scottish Government is positive, people living in Scotland need these lifesaving drugs now.  

"The tragic wait has to end and now is the time for the Scottish Government to remain committed and Vertex to do all they can to ensure that this chance does not slip away again.”

Ian Austin said:

“I’m very disappointed at the news that lifesaving drugs for Cystic Fibrosis won't be funded in Scotland

“This is devastating news for people with CF and their families, not just in Scotland, but across the UK.

“I promise to keep campaigning so that people with CF can get access to these lifesaving drugs now.”



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