School crossing wardens face axe in Derbyshire

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School crossing patrol wardens in Derbyshire could become a thing of the past because of ‘unrelenting’ cuts which will force the end of some services, the council’s leader has said.

Closing up to 23 children’s centres, gritting fewer roads and cutting grants to voluntary groups are also possibilities at Derbyshire County Council.

The authority needs to strip £157m from its budget by 2015 and said the result could be around 2,000 fewer jobs.

Leader Coun Anne Western said: “In 2010, the Government told us these cuts would last for five years.

“With every year that has passed since, the cuts have got deeper and stretch further into the future.

“We need to be absolutely clear – we do not want to make these unrelenting cuts which will affect services local people rely on.

“The Government has left us no choice and we are having to think the unthinkable.

“Its budget reductions mean we have to cut our spending on local services by more than a third.

“We’re laying our cards on the table because we want local people to understand the scale of what we’re dealing with and this is what we need to do to balance the books over the next three years.

“We’re doing all we can to protect services from cuts by continually looking for new and better ways of doing things and if we can avoid making some of these cuts further down the road then we will.”

The council is reviewing its five year financial plan.

Other potential budget reductions include ending concessionary travel for students, reducing library staffing and opening hours and cutting the budget for countryside services.

Coun Western said the council had already dipped into its reserves.

She added: “Spending reserves is like spending your savings, you can only do it once. We’ve got £29m left and that wouldn’t keep the council going for two weeks.”