Government backs allotment duties

The Government has returned fire against Labour MP John Cryer who accused it of trying to abolish the duty on councils to provide allotments to locals.

The communities department said it was "reviewing unnecessary duties" imposed on councils by the 102-year-old Allotments Act. But Cryer condemned the consultation as a sham and accused ministers of appalling judgement (HW, 29 April).

A Government spokesman said it wanted to free authorities from red tape across all areas of policy. "But we will not remove statutory protections for allotments or front-line services," he added.

National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardeners secretary Donna McDaid said she wanted an explicit pledge that local authorities would still have to provide plots.

"But this is welcome. Scotland, which lost its statutory duty in the 1970s, has fallen from 70,000 plots to 7,000," she added.


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