IS IT fair, is it sensible to ask schools to fund their own school crossing patrols?

Today the Daily Echo reveals that Southampton City Council has plans to insist schools pay for their own lollipop ladies and men or they could be withdrawn.

With £21 million worth of cuts to be found from council budgets, says the authority, every little helps. The proposal to stop paying for crossing patrols would save the council £208,000.

On the face of it the suggestion is bound to raise concerns that children’s safety is being put at risk. This would be correct if schools decided they would not find the extra money to pay for the services themselves, but this is unlikely and the council knows this.

At £5,000 per school the cost is not so high as to cause major concerns to school budgets. Parents might even be persuaded to pay a little towards the costs themselves. A complete removal of the crossing patrol ladies and gentlemen, a familiar sight on city streets, is unlikely.

But the move to save such a relatively small amount will send a strong message to the public. Whether the Labour-controlled council plans to actually go ahead with the scheme remains to be seen.

But this is a high-risk strategy in more ways than one.