Children’s Playgrounds

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:16 am on 21st March 2018.

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Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 11:16 am, 21st March 2018

I would be delighted to congratulate my hon. Friend’s council. That is an example of communities working with their local authority, despite the difficult overall climate, to find creative solutions that will benefit the community. There are examples of that happening all over the country. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that example, and I congratulate all those involved in that positive outcome.

On resources for the sector overall, the recent local government finance settlement ensures that the sector will have £45.6 billion in the next financial year, rising from £44.3 billion in the financial year we are just finishing. Nottingham will have more than £500 million in core spending power over that spending review period, the last two years of which we are about to enter, and it will be for the council—whether in Nottingham or elsewhere—to decide how best to prioritise its resources among all the competing claims.

The settlement is the third year of a four-year deal, as I mentioned, and it was accepted by 97% of councils, including that of the hon. Member for Nottingham East. I am glad that they have benefited from the certainty and stability brought by knowledge of income over the medium term. That is something that local authorities have asked for. It allows them to think strategically. Indeed, in the hon. Gentleman’s area the Nottingham Open Space Forum, of which I know he is aware, is one such example of that longer term strategic thinking, and it highlights the point that local areas are best placed to decide how to use resources to promote the causes that their constituents care most about.