Number of lollipop men and women down by more than 2,000, warns union

The Canary

The number of lollipop men and women employed in Britain has been cut by more than 2,000 in the past decade, according to a new study.

The GMB union blamed years of austerity for the cuts, warning it was affecting the safety of children walking to and from school.

The union conducted a Freedom of Information Act request to local authorities across Britain asking how many school crossing patrol officers they employed in the last financial year compared to 2009/10.

In 2009/10 there were 7,128 employed by councils across England, Scotland and Wales and by 2017/18 that had dropped to 5,047, said the union.

The West Midlands and the North West were the worst-hit regions, with drops of 386 and 378 respectively, while Wales had 250 fewer school crossing patrol officers, with Scotland losing 163, according to the GMB.

National officer Rehana Azam said: “Ten years of brutal Tory austerity have left scars right across our society, and now it’s got to the point where our kids aren’t even safe walking home from school.

Lollipop protest
The West Midlands and the North West were the worst-hit regions (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“No parent wants to get the call that their child has been involved in an accident, but that’s the risk councils are taking because they are so cash-strapped.

“Austerity is a choice but councils have been left with no choice but to make savings.

“Our public services need proper funding, so they can rebuild from the ruins left by a decade of savage cuts.”

A spokesperson for the ministry of housing, communities and local government said: “Next year, councils in England will have access to £49.2 billion – the biggest annual real-terms increase in spending power in a decade.

“Councils, not central government, are best placed to know what their communities need and are responsible for delivering services for residents.”

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