Labour last night pledged to axe a council tax discount for “well-off” pensioners in Southampton to avert proposed hikes in the cost of care and services for the disabled.

Opposition councillors urged ruling Tories to scrap the ten per cent discount, worth £1m, as Conservative council leaders agreed budget plans to axe 200 jobs to help save £14m.

Labour, which aims to seize power at the Civic Centre in May elections, warned that proposed Tory cuts will fall disproportionately on the elderly and vulnerable.

Group leader Councillor Richard Williams said: “In tough times like these, the better off should shoulder more of the challenges, not those with the least.

"That’s why we want to reallocate the £1m rich pensioners’ council tax discount to services that help many more elderly and vulnerable people.” Lib Dems said they would phase out the discount.

Labour would also save the Mount Pleasant community language service, protect the street-cleaning budget and overturn a £90,000 cut in support to people suffering domestic violence, Cllr Williams said.

Conservatives rubberstamped plans to freeze council tax for a second year and said key frontline services that residents relied on would be protected by continuing to reduce the number of managers at the council, sharing services with other authorities, automating the Itchen Bridge tolls and cutting the communications budget.

The council faces a threeyear £57m black hole after Government funding cuts. Cllr John Hannides, Cabinet member for resources, said three-quarters of the savings would come from efficiencies.

Cllr John Hannides, cabinet member for resources, said three-quarters of the savings would come from efficiencies.

"Regrettably there will be some unavoidable job losses.

"However if you look at other councils which are losing thousands of staff as well as front line services, we have managed to avoid that happening in Southampton and I'm pleased that we have a budget that represents best value for our residents and tax payers."