Wirral Council has taken steps to reassure the public that it has "absolutely no proposals" to close the borough's libraries.

Last week the Globe exclusively revealed that as part of major cost saving measures, the authority is to consider recruiting voluntary groups to help run the service under a community-ownership scheme.

But today, other media in Merseyside have reported the peninsula's 15 libraries are facing the axe.

The headlines have led council chief executive Graham Burgess to put his cards on the table by stating there are "no plans to close any sites."

He said: "We are faced with an incredibly difficult financial position, which will impact on service provision right across the authority.

"The swingeing reductions in our Government grant mean that we simply cannot continue to provide all of the services we currently provide.

"I've recently announced very serious reductions in the number of staff we employ, and the fact is that there will be more to follow.

"Despite this, I want it to be clear that there are absolutely no proposals on the table to close any libraries.

"We are exploring all options for services, as is only right, but we have no plans to close any sites." 

Library closures are an extremely sensitive issue in Wirral after a hugely controversial policy was launched in 2009.

The Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition administration caused an outcry when it announced its intention to close 11 libraries under the so-called Strategic Asset Review - promising "fewer but better" libraries.

The plan hit the skids when, faced with ever-increasing protests making national headlines, the Government stepped in and ordered a public inquiry.

But before the inspector's report was published, the scheme was dropped with the then leader of the council, Cllr Steve Foulkes, saying anticipated cost-savings "were not being realised."

Wirral needs to slash spending by £57m over the next two years, and its cuts package involves shedding 500 more staff and transferring management of council-run day nurseries to the private sector.

The proposal to examine whether volunteers could take over management of some libraries will be discussed by the council cabinet this Thursday.