School crossing patrols 'here to stay' in Derbyshire, Tories announce

School crossing patrols play an important role.
School crossing patrols play an important role.

Conservative council chiefs have declared 'school crossing patrols are here to stay' in Derbyshire.

Tory-led Derbyshire Council Council (DCC) said it will scrap plans originally put forward by the previous Labour administration to axe £300,000 from the school crossing patrols budget in 2018-19.

Labour stated it had to make 'difficult decisions' when it was in power at DCC between 2013-17 because of Conservative Government austerity.

Councillor Simon Spencer, cabinet member for highways and deputy leader at DCC, said: "Labour have a terrible history when it comes to school crossing patrols in Derbyshire.

"In 2015, when they were last in power at County Hall, they cut nearly 40 patrols despite huge opposition from local campaigners and Conservative councillors, including petition signatures from over 16,000 concerned residents.

"Then in February last year, they announced their plans to cut a further £300,000 from the budget, which could have decimated the service.

"Fortunately for the residents of Derbyshire, they lost power just a few months later.

"Having considered the proposals in detail and discussed them with schools and parish councils, we’ve decided to scrap the plans in their entirety.

"Residents can rest assured that school crossing patrols are here to stay."

Coun Barry Lewis, DCC leader, added: "Perhaps what's most disappointing is the blatant bandwagon-jumping that Labour MPs and councillors have been doing on this issue.

"We really shouldn't have to remind them that this was their proposal in the first place."

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said Labour activists had forced DCC to scrap the proposals to cut school crossing patrols - and criticised central Government cuts.

He said: "I am very pleased that the Conservatives at County Hall have been forced into a U-turn on this.

"Schools are under huge financial pressure, which is being exacerbated by changes to the funding formula by central Government.

"In my constituency, 34 out of the 38 schools are expected to have real terms funding cut and there is no way they could have taken on the burden of paying for school crossing patrols.

"This would have led to job losses and children placed in potential danger."

Mr Perkins added: "Labour are the last line of defence against Tory austerity both nationally and locally.

"I am proud that this campaign has stopped another dangerous cut to public services."