It looks as if we might have won the battle for allotments. I say that, it depends how much you trust the government and, of course, how long a government lasts. Politicians are masters of changing their minds and the ground rules, finding ways to reverse what they said. I’m sure the Conservatives said something about not changing the NHS before they were elected and maybe best not to go into university fees.
Just in case you thought you’d discovered which way I vote, I don’t think we’d have been any better off under labour!
Anyway, Mike Gapes MP for Ilford South (Labour) asked the prime minister about allotments following the recent press coverage. I quote:
Mike Gapes, MP “More than 100 years ago, Parliament legislated to make sure that local authorities provided allotments. Healthy local food is a very good part of good British values. Why therefore are the Prime Minister’s Government scrapping the obligation on local authorities to provide allotments?”
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, replied “I was as concerned as the hon. Gentleman when I read that report. I immediately checked, and found that that is not the case. It is extremely important that allotments are made available. Many Members will find that when they ask about that in their constituencies there are massive queues for allotments, as many people want to grow their own vegetables and food and understand more about where food comes from. It is a great movement, and it has my full support.”
So there you go – from the horse’s mouth. Let’s hope ‘full support’ means what it says.
Thanks to Jonathan Pressey and Carole Ware for sending me the digest from Hansard (the record of proceedings in parliament)
We really shouldn’t have to keep defending allotments from our elected representatives though. The fact is allotments are our right, payment for the land grabs undertaken against the common man by the aristocracy in the past. Don’t ever relax because they’ll be in like a shot if we let them.
I’ve also had the following reply from the review body:
Thank you for your recent email about the review of statutory duties placed on local government.
Until now, there has been no comprehensive list of the legal duties placed on councils. To remedy this, the Government agreed with the Local Government Association (the national body representing councils) that such a list should be compiled so that everyone is clear what legal obligations local councils have and check whether the duties are still relevant.
There is no implication that any particular duty on the list is being considered for removal. The review is as much about ensuring vital duties are retained as it is about removing unnecessary burdens. Any changes to statutory duties which come about as a result of the review will subsequently be properly considered and consulted on where necessary.
The Government will not remove statutory protections for allotments or vital frontline services and, as such, there is no intention to remove local authorities’ statutory duties to provide allotments or to remove the requirement for local authorities to seek the Secretary of State’s agreement to use statutory allotments for other purposes.
Statutory Duties Review Team