I am increasingly concerned about the condition of our parks and playgrounds, which have fallen into disrepair over the past few years.
Local council ‘spending power’ – the amount of money authorities have to spend from government grants, council tax and business rates – fell by 17.5% between 2009/10 and 2019/20. Government grants were cut by 40% in real terms between 2009/10 and 2019/20, from £46.5bn down to £28bn.
This massive cut to our local services has meant that along with closing libraries, reducing services, poor pothole repair, less frequent bin collections and overgrowing weeds, councils have had much less funding to spend on making sure our playgrounds are fit for purpose.
The Government’s answer? Put 100 chess boards in public parks.
Far from levelling up, this doesn’t even begin to restore the neglect and destruction of our council’s ability to look after our public spaces.
As well as calling on Lancaster City Council to do all it can, I have written to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to demand that he releases playground funding for local authorities to enable them to refresh painting, upgrade equipment, and make sure that these are safe and happy places for our little ones to spend time with their friends and with their families.