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Spending on parks drops by 38% in past decade

Spending on parks has dropped by 41% per 1,000 of population in the past decade (Danny Lawson/PA)
Spending on parks has dropped by 41% per 1,000 of population in the past decade (Danny Lawson/PA)

The Scottish Government has been accused of “selling the next generation short” after an almost 40% drop in spending on parks.

According to the Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) – a dataset that logs local government statistics – net expenditure dropped from £169 million in real terms in 2010-11 to around £104.5 million in 2020-21, a fall of 38%.

Real terms expenditure per 1,000 of population also fell from £32,377 to £19,112 – a drop of some 41%.

The figures come as the SNP pledged at last year’s election to improve every play park in Scotland at a cost of £60 million.

The LGBF data covers the decade immediately before the pledge made by the SNP, who went on to win the election and continue in power.

In August of last year, the Daily Record reported a leaked document showed the pledge had been “revised” after local authority body Cosla told the government £60 million was not enough and new wording of the policy gave greater flexibility to local authorities.

Labour local government spokesman Mark Griffin said playparks have been “left to rust” because of cuts to council funding.

“This time last year the SNP were promising to renew every playpark in Scotland, but the ballots had barely finished being counted by the time they ditched this pledge,” he added.

“The pitiful funding they are bragging about is a drop in the ocean compared to the cuts inflicted on their watch.

“The SNP are selling the next generation short with their cuts to local services, leaving kids with run-down playparks, closing libraries, and struggling schools.

“The SNP have shown their disdain for local government time and time again – they cannot be trusted to defend your community.

“Scottish Labour are committed to fighting for a fair deal for local government and investing in parks and green spaces across the country.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “As we have stated previously, the overall local government 2022-23 funding package of almost £12.7 billion represents an increase of almost £1.1 billion, or 6.3% in real terms, compared with 2021-22.

“This comes against a cut to the Scottish Government’s overall budget of 5.2% in real terms, due primarily to UK Government funding reductions.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to invest £60 million for play park renovation over this Parliamentary term, which will ensure that all children across Scotland have access to quality play in their own community.”

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