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Real terms funding for England's parks down £330m a year since 2010

24 August 2022

Research by the Guardian Newspaper has found that the poorest areas are losing out most from local authorities' deep cuts, which have left green spaces in decline.

The Guardian's investigation found that almost 25% less in real terms was spent on parks across  England last year than in 2010, with close to three-quarters of local authorities spending less on parks and open spaces. When you adjust for inflation, £327m was cut from parks budgets across the country.

Park staff representatives and volunteers described a situation across the country as a story of gradual decline. This is especially worrying as routine park maintenance is crucial to keeping them accessible for Disabled people. As Get Yourself Active has shown, ensuring local green space remains accessible and open to all can be very challenging. This is despite all the benefits that local green space can bring, especially at a time when many Disabled people cannot afford to get active elsewhere.

Anna Denham, Programme Manager at Get Yourself Active said:

"It is deeply worrying that local authorities are investing less in their green spaces when they are needed more than ever. We've seen throughout the pandemic how local green spaces are vital to people's health and wellbeing, and now, with the Cost of Living crisis, we are seeing people reduce their spending on more organised sporting and leisure activities. 

We appreciate that there are increasing demands on local council's budgets, but the decline of these spaces, which offer so many health and wellbeing benefits alongside a space for community building, is unfair, particularly to those who can't access other means of getting active. Furthermore, the cuts will ultimately put pressure on other services, as people's health and wellbeing suffer the negative impacts.