A MOVE to cut speed limits to 20mph in all Wirral residential roads looks likely to to be blocked tonight. Liberal Democrats are keen to see restart the restricted speeds programme.

The scheme was launched in February of last year when Lib Dems championed a move by Wirral Council to allocate £270,000 to set up 20mph zones in all residential areas throughout the borough.

The issue will be put before a meeting of the full council tonight.

But the ruling Labour group has already signalled its intentions to reject the move.

A statement by their highways chief Cllr Harry Smith says the group believes that "in the current difficult budgetary climate where high numbers of priorities are competing for limited resources, it would be prudent to consider the speed and scale of this programme as part of the overall budget process before making any final financial commitments."

Lib Dem leader Cllr Tom Harney said: "I can't believe Labour are proposing to back track on their previous commitment to road safety and protecting vulnerable road users by not progressing 20mph zones on non major residential routes.

"This policy was agreed and budgeted for by both the previous Conservative-led and Labour-led coalition administrations. Now Labour seem to want to 'go slow' on implementing this policy.

"Perhaps they would like to explain their new approach to grieving families whose lives have been profoundly changed by tragedy the next time an accident, which could have been less serious at a lower speed, kills or seriously injures a child."

His colleague Cllr Bob Wilkins said when the first 20mph speed limits were introduced, accident rates fell by 60%, and the number of children injured reduced by two thirds.

He said: "Speed is one of the key factors in reducing both the number and severity of road traffic accidents.

"Now that 20mph zones can be set up even more easily and at lower cost than before, we shouldn't wait another day.

"The work needs to start now to make our roads safer for everyone."

The Lib Dems will use a procedure called Notice of Motion to debate the issue when all 66 members of the authority meet tonight.