Liverpool City Council has confirmed it is to axe 1,500 jobs over the next two years following the announcement of government spending cuts, sparking a fresh wave of criticism from trade unions.

Between 300 and 500 roles are also expected to be lost in the voluntary as the council withdraws financial backing from charities in the city. The local authority has been tasked with making efficiency savings of £141 million by 2013.

"I have never had to make such a difficult and heartbreaking decision and I know everyone working on the budget feels the same," said council leader Joe Anderson. "I am acutely aware just how worrying the current situation is."

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny hit out at the government over its approach to public sector cutbacks, claiming more than 145,000 jobs had been lost across 212 local authorities in recent months.

Earlier this month, Manchester City Council confirmed 2,000 public jobs would go and expressed concern over the potential impact on frontline services.