School crossing patrols could be axed as new savings plan agreed

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School crossing patrols could be cut by Wakefield Council after it approved a new interim budget savings plan.

The council agreed revised proposals to save £8m after plans to outsource the crematoria and cemeteries service to private companies fell through.

The list of saving proposals includes withdrawing some school crossing patrols, reducing the duration of patrols or making schools pay for the service, to save £145,000.

The council will now start a consultation but no start date has been agreed.

Redundancies and changing the council’s 24-hour helpline to a 12-hour service were also included on the list of potential savings.

The council could also save £75,000 by reducing the contact centre to a 12-hour service and £100,000 by cutting back on highway gully cleaning.

And The Citizen, Wakefield Council’s free newspaper, could be cut from three issues a year to one to save £40,000.

The council has already been forced to cut £58m from its budget in the past three years and will have made a further £23m of cuts by March.

In a council report, council leader Peter Box said: “In the next financial year the challenges will be even greater as we will need to make the further savings of £38m from our budget, the biggest yet in one year.”

Final budget plans will be drawn up after the council finds out its latest financial settlement from the government in December.

Coun Box said: “When we know what that settlement is we will be presenting a full budget report to cabinet and will go into more detail.”

People writing on Facebook criticised the council’s decision.

Jodie Howard said: “Children’s safety should come first.”

Andrea Harley’s mum has worked as a lollipop lady for more than 25 years. She said: “My mum has saved thousands of children from being at risk.”

The new budget savings plan includes:

- Staff redundancies

- Reducing printing costs

- Renegotiating the council’s mobile phone contract

- Withdrawing school crossing patrols

- Reducing spending on highway gully cleaning

- Changing the contact centre to a 12-hour service