COMMUNITY funding worth more than £165,000 a year has been scrapped by Hyndburn Council.

For the past 15 years, councillors have been given cash for community projects, equipment, and improvements to spend at their discretion. It meant locals hoping for improvements or vital equipment, such as park benches or defibrillators, only had to appeal to their local councillors, cutting red tape and waiting times.

But, in a bid to cut costs, the Labour-led council revealed no more money will be made available. The shock announcement was made at a council meeting on Thursday, where the topic was not on the agenda.

Council leader Miles Parkinson said: “We remain committed to protecting frontline services and this means difficult decisions sometimes have to be taken elsewhere As a cost-saving measure, I am proposing we do not establish any area councils for the coming financial year.

“I also propose no further expenditure is permitted from the area council budgets with immediate effect, although existing contractual commitments will be honoured.”

The move was slammed by opposition leader Peter Britcliffe, who said the Oswaldtwistle Area Council will continue to meet, despite having its budget taken away. “To take everything away is a complete blow by a mean, controlling Labour group,” he said.

Rishton councillor Ken Moss, who was promoted to the council’s cabinet, and made portfolio holder for education, leisure and arts last week, added: “We will still lobby for improvements.”

The council had originally allocated £165,776 to its nine area councils. pro-rata, based on the number of people living in each ward. Oswaldtwistle had £31,724, while Baxenden had the lowest at £8,057.