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

The parks action group has met recently, this year, and I am due to attend the next meeting. I cannot give the hon. Lady a specific timeline, but the Government have committed to report regularly to Parliament with updates. I hope we will give an update before the summer recess, but I have not yet had my first meeting so I am loth to make a firm commitment until I know about the work streams and plans of the action group. The Government have funded the group with £500,000, which I hope will leverage in extra funding from the various partners involved to promote the agenda that the group is keen to embrace.

The hon. Member for Nottingham East made another point about social deprivation. He is aware of the pocket parks programme, which the Department has run in the past, where £1 million helped in cases such as the one the hon. Member for Great Grimsby mentioned. The programme helped to fund 87 small green spaces, including two in the constituency of the hon. Member for Nottingham East, such as Frinton pocket park. That was a fantastic programme and I am looking to see what lessons we can learn from it, such as whether there is the possibility of replicating something similar in the future. It was brilliant at targeting money on areas with high social deprivation, removing those barriers to access.

I am conscious of time, but I hope that in the debate I have been able to demonstrate to the Chamber that the Government—not least me—are taking the subject seriously. With the parks action group, work is happening. The hon. Gentleman was absolutely right to put the issues front and forward on the agenda. I look forward to working with him and other Members to develop the green spaces that we all want our children to enjoy, not just today but for years to come.

Question put and agreed to.

Sitting suspended.