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Children‘s Play: Newcastle upon Tyne

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much funding was provided to Newcastle City Council for the maintenance and establishment of children's play areas in the latest period for which figure are available; and what monitoring his Department undertakes to ensure this funding is being used appropriately by local authorities. (244126)

Our public consultations have shown a consistent and strong demand from children and families for better outdoor play spaces near to where they live. In the Children's Plan we committed to invest an additional £235 million to fund up to 3,500 new and refurbished public play areas nationally.

As part of this programme of investment from 2008-09 to 2010-11, all local authorities will be designated as play Pathfinders of Playbuilders. On average all play Pathfinder authorities will receive £2 million capital funding, £500,000 revenue funding over the course of the programme and Playbuilder authorities will receive around £1 million capital and £45,000 revenue funding. Play Pathfinder authorities will develop a minimum of 28 play areas and a new staffed adventure playground, while Playbuilder authorities will develop a minimum of 22 play areas by 2011. This includes both new play areas and significant refurbishment of existing play areas.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne was a Playbuilder LA from April 2008 and received £307,407 capital and £12,730 revenue funding for 2008-09. Newcastle has been selected as one of our final 10 Pathfinders and will receive around £2 million capital funding and £500,000 revenue funding from April 2009. Final allocations for 2009-10 and 2010-11 will be finalised in January 2009.

All Pathfinder and Playbuilder LAs progress on delivery of sites is monitored on a regular basis. Financial monitoring is done through existing processes that LAs already have in place with the Department. In addition, Pathfinder and Playbuilder LAs have to submit an Estimate of Expenditure by January 2009 setting out expenditure to date and projected spend to March. A Statement of Expenditure, certified by the Chief Financial Officer in respect of the grant for the financial year 2008-09, has to be submitted to the Department no later than 30 June 2009. The expenditure has to adhere to the Conditions of Grant, each Pathfinder and Playbuilder LA accepted, and relates to the number and quality of play areas delivered.