MORE "difficult decisions" may have to be made after Wirral Council’s local Government settlement was slashed by £42m.

Local councils in England – except the Greater London Authority - are facing a 2.9% cut in overall funding for 2014/15 following an announcement by Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis.

Mr Lewis said it should leave councils with "considerable total spending power" of £2,089 per household, and give them "the stability and certainty needed to plan budgets and move ahead with transforming local services and ongoing efficiency".

He added: “We have tried to be fair to every part of the country – north and south, rural and urban, metropolitan and shire.”

Wirral was already facing a £109m budget squeeze over the next three years, and announced a £29m savings package earlier this week.

Councillor Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council, said the cuts are disproportionate and will have a direct impact on the authority’s ability to main existing levels of services.

He said: “I am obviously disappointed that the Tory-led Government has imposed yet more cuts on Wirral, which are again disproportionate when compared with reductions to wealthy local authorities in the south.

“While our improved business and financial planning processes have enabled us to plan for this scenario, this does not reduce the burden on the services that Wirral people rely on.

“This latest announcement will see our grant from central Government fall by £42m from 2013/14 to 2015/16, which will have a direct impact on our ability to maintain existing levels of services.

"We will ensure that services for the most vulnerable people are prioritised, however it is inevitable that more difficult decisions will need to be taken in the future.

“I am particularly disappointed to see year on year reductions to the Early Intervention Grant, which is designed to protect the life chances of our young people.”

Councillor Davies added: “I call on the Government to re-think these cuts which will do huge damage to local services in Wirral.”