Two local MPs have expressed concern about Dorset County Council’s proposed cuts to its School Crossing Patrol (SCP) service.
Annette Brooke, Lib Dem North Dorset MP, and Richard Drax, Conservative South Dorset MP, raised their concerns in an ‘adjournment debate’ about the proposed cuts, which will save the council around £200,000 but result in the loss of 65 jobs.
Annette Brooke said: “The council’s total budget is about £273m, and although it had a better financial settlement than most other councils, it still has to find £31m of savings this next financial year. However, the benefits of saving £200,000 in this way are minimal compared with the wider costs placed upon communities.”
Responding, Phillip Hammond, transport secretary, said: “I understand concerns about a power as opposed to a duty, but I must advise that we do not intend to introduce new legislation to place obligations on local authorities to provide specific road safety measures, whether they are school crossing patrols or any other measures.
“The Government continues to provide substantial funding for local transport, including for road safety. It is for local authorities and their communities to decide what resources are used to improve road safety, and to determine their own solutions, tailored to the specific needs and priorities of their communities.”
Helen Toft, the Dorset mum behind the Save Our Lollipop People campaign, said: “Ms Brooke and Mr Drax gave a very good account of the situation which is repeated in so many other areas of the country.
“They were addressing their concerns to Norman Baker Norman Baker, under secretary of state for transport, and though he did say that the decision was down to local authorities he did think they should take road safety extremely seriously. He also extolled the virtues of SCPs and what a wonderful job they do.”
Click here to read Helen Toft’s blog.