Row over 70 per cent reduction in lollipop patrollers in East Dunbartonshire over past decade

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A row has broken out over a 70 per cent drop in lollipop patrollers in East Dunbartonshire over the past decade.

Conservative MSP for West Scotland Pam Gosal blamed “damaging SNP cuts” to council budgets.

Ms Gosal hit out after highlighting a Freedom of Information request that shows the number of patrollers in the area has fallen by over 70 per cent since 2011.

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In that year, she said, 62 patrollers were employed by the council, but that had slumped to just 18 as of2020.

But SNP MSP Rona Mackay said the Scottish Government has provided a 4.7% real terms increase for East Dunbartonshire Council this year, “despite over a decade of savage austerity cuts from UK Government Tories.”

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP added: “I’m sorry to be the one to explain to Pam Gosal that her party – the Tory administration of East Dunbartonshire Council – are responsible for recruiting and retaining lollipop patrollers.”

Ms Gosal said her party, in coalition with the LibDems in East Dunbartonshire, are having to make tough funding decisions with “one hand tied behind their back due to the SNP continuing to slash the funding available to local authorities”.

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She added: “Lollipop patrollers are part of our communities across East Dunbartonshire. They are liked and respected by pupils, staff and teachers alike for the work that they do to keep our young people safe.

“I was extremely shocked to discover the number of patrollers had fallen by over 70 per cent in the last decade.

“Enough is enough. This trend of cuts being passed onto our councils must change which is why I’m backing Scottish Conservative plans to enshrine a fair funding deal in law for our councils.

“That would guarantee East Dunbartonshire Council the resources they need to invest in boosting the number of patrollers.”

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Ms Mackay said the 4.7% increase for East Dunbartonshire also comes at a time the UK Government has cut Scotland’s capital budget by an unforgivable 9.7%.”

She added: “Should Pam Gosal’s Tory councillor colleagues want to sweeten the deal for lollipop patrollers, using the increased funding supplied by the SNP Scottish Government, then it’s incumbent on them to do so.”