ELEVEN directors and heads of service at Wirral Council were last night told their jobs are being lined up for the axe.

The grim news was delivered to the officers in a face-to-face meeting with chief executive Graham Burgess.

The night of the long knives came just a fortnight after all senior managers of the council were warned in letters to their homes that their jobs were “at risk".

The loss of 11 of the town hall's most senior managers in one fell swoop is unprecedented in Wirral Council's history.

The cull is part of the authority's masterplan to reduce spending by £103m - the equivalent of one-third of its total budget - over the next three years.

And more redundancies are on the way - the council wants to shed a further 500 jobs in total.

Mr Burgess told the Globe: "I have said all along that these cuts would start at the top. The senior staff are not protected and there are no special cases."

A major part of the budget reduction scheme is the restructuring of the senior managerment tier and Mr Burgess is in the process of appointing three "super-directors" who will have responsibility for overseeing almost every aspect of council business.

This responsibility is reflected in the salaries, which will be in the range of £120,000 per annum.

But the chief executive explained losing 11 chief officers would result in a saving of £1.3m. When the new directors' pay is taken into account, it will leave a final saving of around £800,000.

The 11 have been put on redundancy consultation and a final decision is expected to made when the ruling cabinet meets on December 20