Hartlepool school lollipop crossings and cost of living support saved thanks to unexpected council cash boost

Councillors have confirmed nine school lollipop patrols in Hartlepool facing the axe under planned spending cuts plans will remain in place.

By Nic Marko
Friday, 25th February 2022, 2:33 pm

However, earlier this month, local authority leader Shane Moore, unveiled proposals to retain the crossing patrols, after he was handed more government funding for 2022/23 than expected.

Following the news of the extra cash, he also proposed deferring a planned £86,000 reduction in the council’s Local Welfare Support fund for a further year, instead using the money to support residents most impacted by rising gas and electric costs.

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The council has found funding to save under threat school crossing patrol jobs.

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Overall, the council expects to find itself more than £1.48 million better off than it had expected in 2022/23, after funding from Westminster exceeded minimum forecast requirements.

Borough chiefs will also use the funding to reduce the use of savings and make the budget “more robust”.

Cllr Moore, speaking at Thursday’s full council meeting to approved the spending plans, said the increased funding would produce a more sustainable budget, as well as saving crossing patrols.

Shane Moore, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council

The Independent Union representative said: “This has reduced the deficit deferred to 2023/24 to £1.086 million compared to the deficit deferred last year of £5.182 million.

“This means we’ve put the budget on a much more sustainable basis, although we still face financial challenges in 2023/2024 and 2024/25.

“The budget proposals remove the school crossing patrol saving and provide an additional £86,000 towards welfare support, specifically towards gas and electric top ups.”

Councillors also backed plans to consider whether more pelican or zebra crossings, with 20mph zones, could be installed near schools on an “invest to save basis”.

Hartlepool Borough Council

Under original budget plans for 2022/23, the council would have retained £120,000 for its Local Welfare Support fund, down from £206,000 – a loss of £86,000.

Labour had previously called for councillor allowances to be slashed to save cash.

However council chiefs outlined how government funding announcements had left a “small amount of financial flexibility”, allowing them to keep the patrols and provide the Local Welfare Support funding.

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