Children are being made to pay the price for the financial crisis, with hundreds of playgrounds shut since the Tories took power – and hundreds more earmarked for closure before the next election.
The last Labour government committed in 2008 to spending £235 million to build 3,500 new playgrounds across as part of a National Play Strategy.
But the scheme was axed by then Education Secretary Michael Gove just two months after the Tories formed a coalition government with the Lib Dems.
With ring fenced funding for playgrounds gone and English local authority budgets slashed by billions since 2010, playgrounds have disappeared as spending on parks has been cut by 92%.
A report published today by the Association of Play Industries finds:
1 in 3 councils had to remove play facilities between 2010 and 2014
214 playgrounds were closed by 65 local authorities between 2014 and 2016
234 playgrounds are earmarked for closure by 60 local authorities between 2016 and 2019
The report warns the trend in closures could increase childhood obesity, rob kids of opportunities to develop physically and mentally and lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour.
But with the the most deprived areas in England facing the biggest cuts, you can be sure it’s not the children of Tory MPs and their posh pals who will be missing out.