September 21 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
All but seven under-threat lollipop ladies in Essex have been saved from the axe.
Essex County Council announced a review of the school crossing patrol service in March in a bid to save money.
Initial proposals suggested getting rid of funding for 55 lollipop men and women on pelican or zebra crossings – meaning they would only stay if money was found by schools or local sponsors to keep them.
The move prompted outcry from opposition parties, pupils, parents and teaching staff who raised concerns about safety.
However Rodney Bass, county councillor for highways and transportation, announced a reprieve for all but seven crossings at a cabinet meeting this morning.
All patrols on zebra crossings will be kept, leaving just seven on pelican crossings being axed – four of which are currently vacant.
Mr Bass has asked that future funding options should be examined by a scrutiny committee task and finish group.
He said: “This announcement proves Essex County Council listens. Representations have been made during an extended period of consultation and we have examined and analysed them.
“The financial position of Essex County Council is better than it was when we started this consultation as we have been single-mindedly engaged in transformation which has made our financial position strong.
“I can now assert that the School Crossing Patrols are safe in our hands.”
Mike Mackrory, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at County Hall, said: “It is a pity this decision wasn’t made at last Tuesday’s full council when our motion, calling on the cabinet member to abandon his proposal to withdraw funding for school crossing patrols, was rejected by the Conservative administration.
“It was even described as ‘puerile’ by a leading Conservative and in a recorded vote every Conservative voted against the motion.
“This is a monumental U-turn of spectacular proportions.”