Mersey Tunnel tolls are to rise by 10p to £1.70 this April after transport authority Merseytravel voted in favour of a price hike.

The move will increase tunnel revenues by £2.4m.

Wirral Council's delegates at the budget meeting pushed for a freeze, with former Labour leader Steve Foulkes pressing for a Merseyside discount to be introduced.

Councillor Foulkes said the authority should continue to campaign for the national road network to take over funding of the tunnels.

He said he would not support the increase proposal.

Hesewall councillor Les Rowlands said: "Merseytravel should be sending out a message to say look, we realise that this is hard, we realise that this is going to have an impact on the local economy with people going to work, it's going to be a hard time to put an increase on the tunnel toll.

"While the reserves are healthy, the £2.4m can be found elsewhere.

"Let's send a message that Merseytravel is not prepared to put the tolls up every year."

Chairman Liam Robinson said: "I understand it is always a very difficult and challenging decision.

"But it is important to view the tunnels as an integrated part of the region's transport network.

"The 10p increase is proportionate and, on balance, is the best decision we can take in very difficult circumstances at this moment in time."

A motion to freeze the tolls put forward by Cllr Rowlands was voted down.

John McGoldrick, secretary of the Mersey Tunnel Users Association, described the decision as a fait accompli.

He told the Globe he was glad to see three Wirral councillors vote against it. Leasowe councillor Ron Abbey was not at the meeting

"The whole thing is just a piece of theatre," said Mr McGoldrick.

"I would like to stress the reason politicians do this, increase the tolls, is because people just don't shout enough.

"Unless Wirral people are prepared to shout we are never going to see a stop to this.

"We are never going to see an end to the tunnel tolls."