ANGRY protesters brought traffic in Finchley to a standstill as they campaigned to keep what they say is a vital service for vulnerable residents.

More than 150 pensioners, disabled residents and concerned family members, marched from Finchley Central Tube station to Victoria Park, calling on Barnet Council bosses to rethink plans to scrap wardens in sheltered housing.

The Conservative-run council threatened to cut the wardens, who look after the borough's elderly and most vulnerable residents in sheltered housing, to save money in this year's budget.

Critics argued the move will endanger those who rely on the service.

Amanda Freeman, 38, of Holden Road, said: "I'm here today because I have a grandmother in sheltered housing.

"The wardens are like gold dust. The service they provide allows the elderly to live their lives independently and with dignity.

"Barnet Council has lost a lot of money in Icelandic investments and it seems they want to make up the shortfall by targeting those least able to defend themselves.

"It's disgusting."

Larry Hemington, 66, of Wimbush House, in Westbury Road, said: "Health and safety is the main concern.

"The wardens are a constant presence 24 hours a day and if anyone has concerns they can find someone almost instantly to help them. It is reassuring and above us makes the most vulnerable residents feel safe.

"If the wardens are cut, many residents are going to have to move into homes and that will only end up costing the council more."

Labour politicians Hendon MP Andrew Dismore and Alison Moore, leader of Barnet's Labour group, also joined the march to pledge their support.

A consultation on the proposal is still underway.