Ian Austin

Independent for Dudley North

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Austin challenges Health Secretary over mental health drop-in closure

Dudley MP Ian Austin has challenged the Health Secretary over the closure of Dudley’s Dove House drop-in centre for people with mental health problems.

Click here to watch Ian's question to the Health Secretary about Dove House

Speaking at Health Questions in the House of Commons, Austin called on the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to give Dudley a fairer share of funding so that Dove House could afford to continue operating. In his reply, Jeremy Hunt promised to look into the matter.

Dove House opened in the 1970s to offer support and social contact to people with severe mental health problems across Dudley borough.

The centre is based at Bushey Fields and is operated by mental health charity Dudley Mind with funding from Dudley Council, but it has been reported that the council can no longer afford to fund it. The centre could now close by 30 June.

Austin has repeatedly called on the Government to give a fairer share of funding to public services in Dudley. Cuts in government funding have seen Dudley Council lose £76 million since 2010 and this will rise to £92 million by 2019/20. The spending power of Dudley Council has been reduced by 20%, this compared to just 1% in Surrey, 2% in Buckinghamshire and 5% in Wokingham.

Speaking at Health Questions, Ian Austin said:

“Dove House in Dudley has been helping people with mental health problems since the 1970s, but which faces closure this year for the want of what is actually quite a small amount of money.

“Will he look at this personally and do everything he can to keep this really valuable facility open.

“The reason it’s closing is because Dudley is losing twenty percent of its funding compared to just one percent in Surrey which he represents.”

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