Lollipop man’s cross over cuts

Brian Taylor.
Brian Taylor.

A lollipop man has given county bosses some stick over cost-cutting plans which could make crossing the road more dangerous for kids.

Brian Taylor is against proposals for schools to part-pay the wages of lollipop men and women.

Headteachers are up in arms over the plans, which would force schools to either stump up the cash or scrap their lollipop man or woman altogether. School crossing patrols are currently funded by Lancashire County Council.

Mr Taylor, 71, has been a lollipop man at the junction of Broadway and Beaufort Road for three and a half years.

“We all had a memo last month to that effect,” said Mr Taylor.

“I’m retired but some of the lollipop men and women depend on the income.

“At the end of the day it’s one hour a day at £6.69.

“They are picking on the wrong ones. It’s not the money, they should be looking after the kids.”

Lancashire County Council hopes to shave £500,000 from its budget by giving schools £2,000 towards the cost of paying for crossing patrols.

However, the true cost of each lollipop man or woman is around £4,500 and schools will also have to add the patrols to their staff rolls.

John Ross, head teacher of Great Wood Primary School in Morecambe, said: “The initial idea of passing (a large percentage) of the crossing patrol costs to primary schools doesn’t seem very well thought out.

“It is good there is a period so that we can put our heads together and develop a workable solution.”

Another local head teacher, who asked not to be named, said: “I would be concerned if it was likely that school crossing patrols would be cut in any shape or form.

“That would potentially be quite dangerous for children particularly at times of year when visibility isn’t good.

“I would be hard pressed to find money to fund a crossing guard but if it came to it I would have to do that.”

County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The council is faced with an unprecedented financial challenge, having to save £300m from our budget over the next four years due to cuts made by central Government.

“In the past more schools asked us for a lollipop man or woman than we were able to provide.

“By sharing the cost with the school, the proposal offers the opportunity of increasing the number of crossing patrols across the county and means that schools that did not previously meet the criteria can benefit from having their own crossing patrol.”

The changes will not come in until the 2015/16 academic year to allow further consultation with schools.