Warden cuts come at cost
T HERE is no doubt about it that making cuts on the scale which Stoke-on-Trent City Council is having to do so, is a thankless task. They have led to hundreds of job losses and the closure of key facilities in communities across the city. The authority probably doesn't want to have to make the majority of the unpopular cuts. And council employees and elected members would argue that they are being forced on the authority by major cuts in funding from Central Government. Having made £35.6 million savings in this financial year, it now faces having to find another £21.1 million in cutbacks from April. And, of course, there is little prospect of that being the end of it as the Coalition Government shows little sign of real progress in balancing its own books. That means that few council services are off limits as the authority scratches round desperately trying to save cash here, there and everywhere.
W hich brings us to the consultation it is currently carrying out into the merits of lollipop men and women outside schools across the city. A total of 35 are under threat of losing their jobs while another 36 are not being reviewed. It is an example of how no service is safe when you consider that getting rid of one crossing patrol will save the authority just £59 a week. Those, fairly meagre, savings will have to be balanced against the loss of a vital service which keeps children safe on their way to and from school every day. Many of the roads outside schools do benefit from crossings as well as wardens. But most lollipop men and women have horror stories of having to intervene when car drivers ignore red lights. They don't do it for the money but because they are part of the community and they want to keep children safe. We hope the council is not putting that at risk with this review.
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