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To ask the Secretary of State for Education
(1) what plans he has for the future of the Play Strategy issued by his Department's predecessor in 2008;
(2) what steps he is taking to ensure adequate provision of play facilities (a) in urban and deprived areas and (b) elsewhere;
(3) what assessment he has made of the adequacy of provision of play facilities in each local authority area.
The Government recognise how important it is that children have safe, free local places to play, and the benefits these places bring to the wider community more generally. However, it is not for central Government to determine what play facilities are available in local areas, or to tell the experts in the play sector how to deliver play provision. Children, parents, play professionals and local communities best know what is most needed in their local areas.
The play capital programme finished at the end of March 2011, as originally intended under the previous Government's Play Strategy. This Government are giving councils more freedom over how they spend their money, giving communities more control over developments in their neighbourhoods, and making it easier for volunteers and charities to get involved. This should provide the opportunities for committed people and local groups to continue to influence play provision in their areas, leaving responsibility for play provision where it belongs: with local areas and their communities.