A petition set up by worried parents to save under-threat school crossing patrols has already attracted more than 800 signatures.
Concerned Sunderland mum Anne Gonzalez launched the ‘Save Sunderland’s Lollipop Men and Women! Act quickly!’ petition on the change.org website just three days ago.
At the time of going to press, 830 people had signed the petition calling on Sunderland City Council to scrap proposals that, if approved, would reduce the number of patrols in future.
Cabinet members approved a report last month, which will now go before the full council next week. Ms Gonzales said she was appalled by the proposals, insisting they would put children at risk.
“Lollipop ladies and men are the visible face of a public service, held in deep affection by the communities they serve,” she added.
“It really would be appalling to abolish such a sensible and long-established system, and one that is such good value.
“The lollipop men and women protect our school crossings and prevent countless accidents every day.
“We’ve all seen the near-misses prevented by them.”
The petition can be signed at www.change.org/p/save-sunderland-s-lollipop-men-women.
Coun Michael Mordey, Portfolio Holder for City Services, said: “While I appreciate the sentiment and concern expressed in this petition, it is incorrect and misleading to say the school crossing service is being stopped.
“There are no proposals whatsoever in this year’s budget to remove any school crossing patrols.
“What the city council is doing is, over the next 12 months, carrying out a review of the service.
“It is a non-statutory service and like all services is under review because of the sustained budget cuts imposed on the council by the Tory government.
“Moving towards 2020 we simply do not have the money to carry on as normal and all services have to be reviewed and redesigned, in order for us to meet our legal obligation to set a balanced budget.
“It is worthy to note that Sunderland City Council had £207 million cut from our budget by the Coalition Government between 2010 and 2015, and we have to cut another £115 million up to 2020 due to the government’s ideological imposed cuts.
“What I would like to make clear to the residents of Sunderland is that the Conservative government has cut Sunderland’s budget by seven times the national average, whilst at the same time giving out £300 million in transitional funding to predominately Tory-controlled wealthy southern county councils.”