SENIOR councillors have recommended a series of proposed budget savings that could potentially see bins collected every four weeks, the ranger service axed, libraries cut and major events scrapped by 2020, as the local authority continues to be "hammered" by austerity.

In July cabinet members had requested for portfolios to specify how they will operate within the agreed cash limits, agreed by St Helens Council, for the years 2017-2020.

The council says it is required to make savings of £20.6m in this period. Earlier this year the council set out how it had already lost £74 million in Government funding since 2010 and needed to make further savings before 2020.

Agreed recommendations by cabinet members include a review of support provided for day care activities in an effort to save £507,000 and a review of the level of provision of commissioned home care to save a further £606,000

Meanwhile, eligibility for special educational needs transport has also been reviewed.

There is also a review of the borough’s library service, to potentially save £1m, and Sherdley Park golf course.

A phased budget reduction in highway maintenance budget is to be implemented to save £100,000 and a further reduction in street sweeping beats, with 18 out of 26 removed by 2020.

Unde the proposals, the Ranger Service is set to be axed by 2019 following a previous reduction to four.

There will also be a potential move to three-weekly bin collections for "residual waste" in an effort to save £100,000 until 2019, with possible four-weekly collections from 2019/20.

Annual events including Summer Streets, the Fireworks Display and the Christmas Lights switch-on may also be under threat.

Elsewhere current funding for The World of Glass will be reconsidered and funding for the Citadel will also be reduced.

In cabinet, portfolio holder for corporate services Cllr Anthony Johnson said: “Generally the people of St Helens are being hammered in all directions.

“We are not making these cuts because we want to.

“We have no desire to make these cuts. It is a road that we are being forced down, we don’t want to be in.

Cllr Johnson added: “It pains me and every single one of our members to actually make these cuts because we’re actually damaging the services that we work so hard to provide.

“We’ll try to minimise that damage because we believe in those services and the people of St Helens.”

Cabinet member for green, smart and sustainable borough Cllr Terry Shields added: “At a time when austerity has been with us for many years we’re not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. 

“It’s not easy as a portfolio holder to look at some of the decisions that we have to take but I can honestly say I’d rather make the decisions that we’re making at this moment in time and be honest with people out there.”