WIRRAL'S ruling Labour group has tonight voted in favour of a series of budget cuts aimed at saving the authority £2.5m.

During a meeting of the full council at Wallasey Town Hall, 37 Labour councillors approved decisions made by cabinet last Tuesday. Conservatives and Lib Dems voted against.

Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said: "We are committed to protecting frontline services.

"We are not hearing any alternatives from the other parties that differ from the ones we are proposing.

"A further five years of austerity will see the end of local government as we know it. Responsibility for these cuts lies at the doors of this discredited government.

"It's a dereliction of duty not to propose savings."

The options on savings resulted from a public consultation in September, with almost 8,000 residents, businesses, partners and staff providing their views.

Cabinet had implemented a plan to scrap the 5% council tax discount to 7,000 pensioners aged over 70, saving £600,000, but did shy away from making some of the more controversial cuts when it met last week.

Conservative group leader Cllr Jeff Green said: "What I find really objectionable is the withdrawal of support for pensioners.

"The Labour Party is prepared to take a bite out of the money of some of the most vulnerable in our society.

"Increasing the chief executive's pay while cutting discounts for some of the most vulnerable is something for which this council should be ashamed."

Plans to reduce library opening times to ten hours a week faced strong opposition from Friends Groups and other library-users.

It was agreed instead to keep community libraries open for 18 hours a week.

Protesters concerned for the libraries' future had gathered outside the town hall ahead of the meeting.

Among them was pensioner Diane Harris, from Wallasey, who told the Globe: "I understand why the council is doing what it's doing, they have no choice, their budget's been cut by so much.

"But to reduce the library down to 18 hours a week, when the children use it for their homework, not every child has got a computer at home is unacceptable.

"It's not just a library, it's a community."

The 73-year-old continued: "I've used the library since I was five, so I think I speak as an authority on the library. If you reduce library hours, how will children be able to use them after school?"

Axing 41 school crossing patrols on existing pedestrian, pelican or puffin crossings would have saved the cash-strapped authority £900,000, but this was one of a number of options pushed aside.

Also rejected were plans to remove roadside grit bins from 198 locations across the borough, closing ten public toilets and the closure of four satellite youth centres and the introduction of car parking fees at Wirral’s countryside parks.

Plans to privatise West Kirby’s marine lake were also vetoed following a petition signed by more than 4,700 people.

Proposals to introduce parking charges at Wirral’s countryside parks were scrapped, but approval was given the introduction of fees at Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton.

Tougher measures will be brought in against littering and dog-fouling.

The council needs to cut its budget by a further £18m next year, after already having made cuts of more than £150m over the past four years.

Councillor Davies continued: "As long as the Government keeps cutting funding we will need to make more savings."

Green Party councillor Pat Cleary said: "Local services are vital to the local community. They are being eroded by failed Coalition policy."