An outgoing councillor has spoken out at accusations that local councils were responsible for funding cuts in neighbourhoods.

In what turned out to be Blackburn with Darwen’s most hotly contested ward – Audley and Queen’s Park - Labour’s Maryam Batan lost to Conservative candidate Tiger Patel by just 113 votes. Tiger Patel's campaign video went viral last week as it was shared across the UK.

Maryam said: “I’ve really enjoyed my three years as a Labour councillor where I was made to feel part of the Labour Party family. A large number of councillors and party members came out to support me during the recent election and, at some stage in the future, I would be proud to stand again for the Labour Party as a candidate.”

“It was a tough election trying to combat the misleading information my Conservative opponent was peddling and it will be interesting to see what he is able to deliver.”

Her opponent Tiger Patel stood by his campaign and said he wanted to take his concerns to the very top of Government.

'I'm speechless for once': Viral sensation Tiger Patel triumphs in council election

Maryam said more than 10 years of Tory austerity policies have had a great effect on towns like Blackburn ‘where hundreds of millions of pounds have been cut from the council’s budget over recent years’.

She said: “These kind of cuts have obviously had an effect on the services that the council provides – some of these effects are hidden like reductions in the services provided to some of the most vulnerable people in the community but some of the effects are very clear like the reduction in the number of street sweepers and other environmental services. 

“The council have a duty to provide statutory services to the most vulnerable in our society. Many families have had to use food banks with all the changes to Universal Credit."

She said it was ‘ironic they (the Conservative Party) are winning praise from the very people who have been victims of the years of austerity’.

She added: “It is worth pointing out that the sums of money that are being offered to communities as part of the levelling up scheme are a small fraction of the money that was reduced from council budgets through Tory austerity policies in the first place. 

“It is easy for critics of the Blackburn with Darwen Council to point to piles of litter in back streets or broken equipment in parks but this is a direct result of Tory policy. Their policy has made it a great deal harder to find the money to fix these issues. Had the cuts not happened the town would not have got to this stage which has hit the hard-working families of the town. 

“I would like to thank the residents who came out to support me and the many direct messages received from individuals who I have responded to. I will continue to work with the community and I'm happy to assist those where I am able to.”

Mr Patel responded and said he would be taking up the concerns in his neighbourhood directly to the Prime Minister.

He said: “I have requested that I can have a meeting with Boris Johnson.

“I will speak to him directly about it. I am also writing a letter to Mr Johnson asking him to increase funding for local neighbourhoods.

“The promises I made I will try my best to deliver.”