WIRRAL Council leader Phil Davies accused the Government of "gambling with people's lives" during the launch of Labour's local election campaign today.

In a major speech at Birkenhead's Engineering College in Monk's Ferry this morning Cllr Davies hit back at measures that have seen the authority's services budget slashed by £250million and a reduction in numbers of police and fire fighters.

He also highlighted what was being done to bring new homes, jobs and opportunities to residents from West Kirby to Wallasey, and Bebington to Birkenhead.

He said: "As a Labour Council, it is no secret that we face unprecedented financial challenges.

"Whilst we are charged with delivering vital frontline services local residents rely on, Ministers are relentlessly cutting every single aspect of our budget.

"The choice for people at this election is very clear – a Tory Party obsessed with austerity, cuts to the budgets of Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue, falling numbers of nurses and doctors in our NHS, a crisis in teacher recruitment in our schools, and cuts to the local authority budgets which provide vital services to Wirral residents.

"The choice is clear for Wirral residents: 'Pay More, Get Less’ under the Conservatives – or Vote Labour to protect the services and quality of life all Wirral residents deserve.

"On May 3 every Wirral resident who votes Labour can send a message to the Tories: Enough is Enough; Stop the Tory Cuts."

The Conservatives also launched their local election manifesto, pledging to scrap the plans for 'Hoylake Golf Resort', food waste bins in every home and the Wirral View newspaper.

Their plan is to use the money saved on "the things that matter most, including more school crossing patrols".

Wirral's Conservative group leader Ian Lewis said: "The elections on May 3 are an opportunity for every voter in Wirral to send a message that the money being wasted on management consultants, the Hoylake Golf resort, food waste bins and the failing Wirral View newspaper must stop.

"Every Conservative Candidate across Wirral, from Egremont to Eastham and from Greasby to Gayton, is signed up to cutting this waste, protecting our Green Belt and making Wirral a council that works for everyone."