THREE Merseyside day care centres threatened with closure were given a temporary reprieve.
At a meeting to set Wirral council’s budget hundreds of protesters turned up to oppose cuts which they said would see frontline services threatened.
At the meeting of the full council in Wallasey town hall, the ruling Labour group pushed through a raft of cuts which would also stop council sponsorship of Tranmere Rovers, cut 350 jobs and raise council tax by 2% to balance the budget.
Last month the Labour controlled cabinet put forward the money-saving measures and cuts to services to tackle a deficit of £39m this year. Cuts include street lighting reduced and car parking charges standardised across Wirral.
The meeting was bad tempered at times and saw hecklers from the public gallery warned they could be thrown out. Much of the anger focused on the budget proposals which would see the closure of one of Wirral’s three largest day care centres for adults with learning and physical disabilities in Moreton, Heswall or Eastham.
Tory councillor Jeff Green said: “I believe the council budget should not be balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable.”
The Tory and Lib Dem budget plans aimed to keep the centres open and Lib Dem Stuart Kelly urged Labour councillors to take that option.
But in an impassioned speech, Cllr Tony Norbury said he supported the Labour budget because it was “the best option at the present time”, while Tory Andrew Hodson accused Labour of “adopting a slash and burn policy”.
But council leader Phil Davies said: “No day care centre will close this evening – there will be a three-month consultation period. This will give every service user and their families a chance to put alternative proposals to us, and we will look at the business case of these before a decision is made.”