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Liverpool children's centres: 10 of 17 face closure with the loss of 63 jobs

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image captionLiverpool Mayor Joe Anderson says central government cuts are to blame for the closures

Liverpool City Council has announced plans to close 10 of its 17 children's centres, with the loss of 63 jobs.

It said the move was necessary as it bids to save £156m over the next three years.

Mayor Joe Anderson said government cuts of £173m since 2010 had given the council "no choice".

Seven registered centres located in "areas of greatest need" will remain open under the plans, and home visits to children and families will continue.

The council said the surviving centres would serve "the immediate area and surrounding wards".

Mr Anderson said: "As a former children's social worker, it is clearly inconceivable that I would choose to make these cuts, and in an ideal world we wouldn't consider closing any of them.

"But the government has given us no choice by withdrawing the money to pay for them."

One parent, Charlotte Mistri, from Childwall, said she would be fighting with other mothers to save the centre, where her 13-month-old daughter Eva attends.

"My local children's centre's based in the school - it's a real hub of the community and it has made a real difference," she said.

'Crucial services'

Sixty-three out of 157 full-time jobs are due to be lost under the plans.

A council spokesman said partner agencies would continue to run some services from the centres earmarked for closure. These could include midwifery services, immunisation sessions and treatment for post-natal depression.

But the sites will no longer be able to operate as registered children's centres.

Mr Anderson added: "The only way we can increase the number of centres and staff to be able to support our very youngest citizens at a very crucial point in their lives is to secure additional funding from partners who themselves heavily depend on these services.

"We are in discussions and we will keep working right up until the last minute to see if we can secure more funding."

A consultation will commence this week including meetings with staff and information for parents and carers.

A report will then be presented to the council's cabinet no later than June, the authority said.

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