By Councillor Andrew Judge, Merton Council cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration (Labour, Abbey ward)

In response to Councillor David Dean’s letter , he appears to live in a different financial reality to the rest of us!

In his world, central Government has not cut Merton's grant funding by £16m every year and is not about to deliver further cuts next year.

As a consequence of very real cuts in funding we’ve had to made significant changes to the way park keepers work.

Fortunately, we have not had to make any compulsory redundancies but we have had to reduce agency staffing and overtime.

Overall the cut in staff hours has been about one-third. Twenty key parks are retaining the same levels of work, but in 78 or so parks and open spaces we have had to reduce the frequency of litter removal and grass cutting.

This is a fact of life under the coalition Government: other councils are facing a similar predicament, with 20 – 30 per cent cuts being made on average.

Merton park keepers do their utmost within available resources: working in mobile teams, collecting litter across Merton’s parks and open spaces.

It’s equally important that we all help to look after our parks and dispose of our litter.

Everyone in Merton can be proud that we are well-served by green and open spaces which benefit the lives of many people.

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