A controversial new budget has been agreed by Liverpool City Council which will save £91million but threaten some frontline services in the city.

 

The budget was set despite attempts by some members of the Liberal Democrats to block it, as their united stance with the local ruling Labour party did not last all the way to the decisive moment.

 

Liverpool Lib Dem leader Warren Bradley came under fire for leaking objections and amendments to the budget before discussing them with the other parties. Previously, all parties had agreed to work together to devise a budget in light of requirements from central government to make savings of 22%.

 

He said it was the party's democratic right to object to the plans, as all but five of the 29 Lib Dems in the council voted against the cuts.

 

But Labour's Council Leader Joe Anderson said he would be wary of working with some Lib Dems now: “I think we are hanging by our fingertips as to whether we can continue working together. When we build bridges, you attempt to kick them away."

 

Protesters tried to storm the Town Hall on Wednesday night

as the devastating budget was being announced.

 

The savings mean that many services are under threat of

closure, such as leisure and children’s centres, charities and

voluntary-based work, which sees a 48% cut in its funding.

 

Four Sure Start centres will close following cuts of £17.5million.

 

The council is hoping to work closely with Merseyside Police,

housing associations and faith groups, as youth services have

been cut by £1.3million.

 

Children’s services, such as day-care centres, have had their

budget slashed by 50% and leisure centre funding will be cut

by £1.6million this year. rising to £2.7million savings next year.

 

Voluntary and charity services will now only receive £800,000

a year. A further £50million needs to be saved in 2012-13.

 

Meanwhile, Sefton Council Conservatives and Lib Dems voted

for their new budget this week which will see £44million in

spending cuts.

 

By April 2014, Sefton must save £68million, which threatens more than 1,000 jobs. As with Liverpool, Sefton Council have frozen council tax to meet the demands of central government.

 

Petitions signed by more than 21,000 people saved the youth budget, which was to be cut by £1.4million. Instead, £500,000 will be cut this year and next year.

 

Labour opposed the cuts at Sefton Council, saying “a path to destruction” had been set. Their group leader, Cllr Peter Dowd, said: “We will continue as best we can to mitigate the damage you are doing.”

 

In response, the Conservatives blamed the last Labour government for saddling “our children with debt”.

 

City budget set amid anger and protests

By Chris Bradley, Website Editor

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Opposing leaders, Cllrs Joe Anderson (left) and Warren Bradley (right) marched together against cuts

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