COUNCIL tax in Wirral is to be frozen - but 1,100 town hall jobs will be lost as Wirral sets its budget for the comining financial year.

The number of senior managers has been cut by a quarter and a reduction will be made in the amount spent on consultants and additional savings identified during the council’s biggest-ever consultation "Wirral’s Future."

The zero-rate tax increase along with around £60m of cost-cutting measures were announced last night at a meeting of the council's ruling Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition cabinet.

The authority is now scheduled to meet next Tuesday, when the package is expected to be rubber-stamped by a full budget council meeting of all 66 members.

Council leader Cllr Jeff Green said: "Over the last ten months, we have worked hard to reduce the amount of money we spend on the council's running costs.

"We have done this while avoiding compulsory redundancies, unlike Labour-run Manchester; and protecting services such as Sure Start, unlike Labour-run Liverpool.

"Through the savings we have implemented, not least the reduction in senior management costs, we are able to protect services that other councils have chosen to cut, while putting extra cash into the services that people have told us are important."

The cabinet also confirmed commitment to keeping all Wirral's libraries open; agreeing further investment to the £1m already allocated for extra equipment, books and building improvements. Support for the "Get into Reading" project, that helps adults and children to read, has also been preserved.

The council pledged to support businesses by including measures in its proposed budget that it claims will safeguard 925 jobs and secure £16m of additional private sector investment.

Councillor Green added: "We have listened to what Wirral residents have told us and this year's budget reflects what is most important to local people.

"Thanks to good financial management, we have identified almost £60m worth of savings, which has meant that we don't need to pass the burden onto Wirral residents by imposing a tax increase or cutting really important services that we all depend on."

Labour group leader, Cllr Steve Foulkes, who was not allowed to address cabinet, told the Globe after the meeting: "The tough, awful, savage cuts made on December 9 at that cabinet meeting have gone largely unscrutinised by methodology, which we've never seen in our time on the council, preventing debate and people being involved.

"This budget is based on the loss of nearly 1300 jobs in core services that people enjoy everyday, particularly the elderly and our our most vulnerable in society. The issue of job losses is something that seems to have been skated over. It's a disgrace.

"If they are trying to claim there's new money in this budget, perhaps they could have kept some of the jobs and services they have let go.

"I believe this budget is a desparate attempt to put some gimmicks in to try and win a few votes.

"They will be exposed for what they have done to the core services and employment prospects of Wirral.

"We'll be analysing this budget over the next few days.

"I think the cuts have gone too far, too fast and too deep. People will suffer for generations as a result of this budget."