PROTESTORS are expected to be out in force tomorrow night campaigning against a threat to axe Wirral Council's only dedicated respite care centre for people with complex mental and physical disabilities.

The potential closure of Girtrell Court in Saughall Massie - saving £155,000 - is revealed in the Labour administration's budget proposal package for 2016.

It says the 120 families who use the facility could be catered for in the private sector.

The move has been blasted by Tory opposition councillors and town hall trade union Unison.

Branch secretary Paddy Cleary said: "You really don't expect this sort of thing from a Labour council.

"If this isn't privatisation of vital public services then I do not know what is.

"The administration has made great play of its 20/20 pledges to protect vulnerable people - yet this absolutely flies in the face of all that.

"For many of the people who rely on Girtrell Court, having to move out of their safe and familiar surroundings will cause extreme anxiety.

"The amount of money it will save is relatively small and could be found by any number of other means."

Mr Cleary said union members will be protesting against the move when the cabinet meets at Wallasey town hall on Thursday evening to discuss the prosposal, along with a a £24m package of further cuts and job losses.

Conservative councillors who represent Moreton West & Saughall Massie are also battling the plan.

They have written to council leader Phil Davies saying they believe it will be extremely damaging.

Their letter says: "We note that the budget proposals before cabinet include the closure and demolition of our only dedicated facility for people with complex mental and physical disorders, Girtrell Court.

"This will result in those who currently benefit from Girtrell Court moving to private provision.

2We met recently with the director of Adult Social Services to discuss this budget proposal; the director was not confident suitable care could be found in the private sector for complex needs.

"We would hope that given our concerns and in real terms the minimal saving that could be achieved that as leader of the council you would recognise the very complex needs of these extremely vulnerable individuals and the impact on their families that closing Girtrell Court would have and withdraw this proposal..."

It goes on: "Furthermore, we understand that the option for the 2% council tax rise ring-fenced for adult social care could specifically be used to retain this important facility, providing high quality and very specific social care to some of the most vulnerable adults in Wirral.

"Should you be willing to work with us on this issue, setting aside party political differences, we would of course be delighted to do so."

A town hall spokesman said: "The council will absolutely continue to provide respite services through the many different professional care organisations that offer accommodation suitable to the long-term needs of people with disabilities.

“We have written to people using the services briefly outlining the proposal, and will meet on a one-to-one basis with each of the 120 families currently using Girtrell Court."