Pathfinder Projects (Blackpool)

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 11th October 2010.

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Photo of Gordon Marsden Gordon Marsden Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 2:30 pm, 11th October 2010

What recent assessment he has made of the merits of year 3 play pathfinder projects in Blackpool.

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

All local authorities, including Blackpool, have provided financial information on their 2010-11 play programmes and this is being considered by our Department. However, as I said earlier, the Department is not making judgments on the relative merits of individual sites, and does not hold this information. Local authorities will be notified within the next month of their revised play capital allocations. It will then be for local authorities to decide which play areas go ahead, based on local needs.

Photo of Gordon Marsden Gordon Marsden Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

Eleven play pathfinder projects in Blackpool are waiting with bated breath for those allocations. That includes the Fishers Field project in my constituency, which is a highly imaginative but complex project involving new playing fields and a natural park. I hear what the Minister says, but his colleague the Secretary of State, in reply to me earlier in the summer, said he was clear about the needs of Blackpool in terms of deprivation, mobility and general problems in that area. Will the Minister pass on the message that the people of Blackpool would like to see such projects go ahead?

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

As I said before and as the hon. Gentleman would have heard, we are very much in favour of promoting play as much as possible because of the many social health benefits that it brings. When the allocations are determined after the spending review coming up, I hope the local authority in Blackpool will decide its priorities according to local needs-we have given local authorities that power-and proceed to promote the play schemes that it considers most appropriate for the local area.