Liverpool City Council approves £156m budget cuts

About 100 protesters gathered outside Liverpool town hall as the councillors agreed £156m of budget cuts.

The council agreed the reduction of its budget over three years on Wednesday, which could lead to up to 300 jobs going at the authority.

Children's and adult services are to be axed and leisure centres will close as a result.

The cuts follow a reduction in government funding across local authorities in England.

Liverpool and Knowsley Councils claim Merseyside authorities are particularly badly affected, but Prime Minister David Cameron previously rejected this.

He said the reduction to the city's Whitehall grants this year was no higher than the average in England.

'Ideological reasons'

Among the protesters was mother-of-three Jo Hampson, from Norris Green, who said she was "dreading what the future holds" if her local children's centre shut.

The council is to axe £42m from adult services, £16m from children's services and council tax will increase by 1.99%.

There will be phased closures of Park Road and Everton Park leisure centres, beginning with swimming facilities.

Half of the city's 19 libraries are expected to close, along with the majority of the children's centres.

Funding for school crossing patrols will also end.

The authority said it hoped community groups and volunteers would help run some of the affected services.

Councillor Richard Kemp, a Liberal Democrat, said: "I am disappointed our amendment was not accepted. We found a way of avoiding a council tax increase.

"On average, people are going to be paying £75 to £100 more in Liverpool than they should be. We believe the council tax freeze amendment from the government has been rejected for ideological reasons."

Mayor of Liverpool and city council leader Joe Anderson said the cuts were "the biggest financial challenge this city has ever had to face".

He said: "Over the last 12 months I have lived and breathed this budget and it doesn't become any easier over time."

The authority said it had seen central government funding cuts of £173m over the last three years.

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