Just when you think Tory councils couldn’t stoop any lower, they go and do something so completely senseless it almost defies belief. That a council would charge children to play (on a council play area) seems like a joke – the kind of thing a cartoonish “nasty party” Tory might dream up – but in one borough, it’s unfortunately true.
Tory Wandsworth council plan to charge children £2.50 to use Battersea Park adventure playground. If this pilot is successful the Director of Children’s Services will extend the charges.
And the leader of Wandsworth council? That would be Eddie Lister – Boris Johnson’s new right-wing deputy mayor.
Ken Livingstone responded to the news last night, and echoed the fears of many parents that this could restrict play areas to wealthy parents:
“Only the Conservative Party could consider charging kids to play. I believe London’s parks and playgrounds should be free for London’s families and I am deeply concerned at this attempt by the Conservatives to turn publicly funded playgrounds into areas which only the rich and privileged can enjoy. “
“This appalling proposal will reinforce fears that the outgoing leader of Wandsworth Council, Eddie Lister is set to drive through a hard-right agenda at City Hall in his new role as Boris Johnson’s chief of staff.”
You can sign a petition against the plans (and see a ludicrous attempt by the council to blame the last government for the decision – yes, really) here.