THE Government has given Wirral Council more than expected in its revenue grant.

Provisional figures, used to set the budget, now have been revised to show the grant is £614,000 better than anticipated.

When other elements are factored in, it means there is now a further £1.5m of cash available for the coming financial year.

Leading Liberal Democrat councillor Stuart Kelly welcomed the news.

He said: “The final Government settlement has resulted in £600,000 more money than was expected.

"Taken together with other movements in the council’s balance sheet, cabinet now has £1.5m more than it thought it had last month”

“There is an opportunity for the Labour administation to reconsider some of its more controversial saving decisions from September.

“ I am thinking particularly about the decimation of the library opening hours.

"This windfall means that if they want they can take this decision off the table and safeguard the future of the community libraries."

He added: “This week sees National Libraries Day - what better way for cabinet to mark this than to take the opportunity the increase in Government grant has given it to think again over library openings.”

The cabinet will meet next Tuesday to debate the grant settlement and make its final preparations for setting the borough’s budget.

Members have been urged to consider dipping into the £83m the authority currently holds in reserves to mitigate spending cuts.