Stop the cuts…. Park budgets fallen by 44 per cent!

An early day motion has been tabled in the House of Commons in response to concerns about the decline in urban parks due to recent cuts to their maintenance budget, as well as staff redundancies and a lack of investment in public facilities.
Early day motions (EDMs) are tabled by MPs to raise the profile of a specific issue and to gather support from fellow MPs who can demonstrate their support by signing the motion. So far, the motion has been signed by 17 MPs but it is hoped that this number will increase as more people become aware of the issue.
In London, park budgets have fallen by 44 per cent in the past four years whilst the funds for Liverpool have been reduced by a third since 2010. The council has also lost 65 of its parks’ staff. In a recent study by the Association of Public Excellence, almost three quarters of park managers felt that the cuts were disproportionate, expressing concerns about possible future increases in vandalism.
John Williamson, Marketing Manager of ecological horticultural suppliers Amberol who work with councils, businesses and public organisations, is urging landscapers, contractors horticultural professionals and the general public to get behind the campaign by writing to their local MP and asking them to add their signature to the EDM.
“Of course public funds are tight and budgets can only stretch so far, but this is a really important issue which impacts directly on people’s wellbeing and quality of life,” John told The Landscaper .. “Our parks are used by joggers, cyclists, dog walkers and people of all generations. Our stressed and busy population needs places to relax, and parks help to accommodate this need. As horticultural suppliers we work with communities of all shapes and sizes and we have seen first-hand how communal spaces and gardening can bring an urban community together.”
Amberol was recently involved in a community planting project working with residents on an inner city estate in Greater Manchester. “Not only did the initiative result in a stronger sense of community, but residents also reported that incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour decreased as a result of the improved environment,” comments John. “It’s amazing the impact that flowers and plants can have and how they can restore a sense of pride and social responsibility.”
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