Russell Brand and Iain Duncan Smith become unlikely allies

Pair join forces to save addition service

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A pioneering north London addiction service threatened with closure is being backed by an unlikely pair of advocates: the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, and Russell Brand.

The 1NE rehabilitation centre in Woodford Green is having its council funding cut at the end of this month, after losing its contract to a major national provider.

Mr Duncan Smith has, since 2007, been a patron of the centre, which provides abstinence-based help to people trying to get over drug and alcohol addiction.

Meanwhile, Brand, who has attracted the ire of most mainstream politicians for declaring his intention not to vote and advocating revolution, has rallied behind the centre which provides the same kind of rehabilitation which helped him overcome a heroin addiction. 

While the two are not formally working together on the campaign, yesterday they both voiced support for 1NE.

Since opening nearly 30 years ago the service has had a very high success rate of 70 per cent. A campaign has been launched to raise £160,000 to fund it for another year.

Mr Duncan Smith told The Independent: “It is a brilliant organisation, which I have been a supporter of for over a decade. I am visiting this Friday, and will do whatever I can to help save the service. I call on the local authority to reconsider their funding decision.”

Brand said the centre was “exactly the kind of place that saved me”, questioned why the Government was letting a successful local organisation “go to the wall” and urged Mr Duncan Smith’s cabinet colleague, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, to “intervene immediately to stop this nonsense”.

A council spokesperson said the new treatment system would “increase capacity” and “improve access to services”.

“Although it is regrettable that 1NE were not successful through the tendering process, measures were put in place to make sure all service providers were treated fairly and given the opportunity to tender,” the spokesperson said.

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