THE leaders of a borough's two main political parties are involved in a post-local election funding row.

Blackburn with Darwen's Labour political boss Cllr Phil Riley has highlighted figures from a think-tank which he claims show the council has been hit hard by government cash cuts.

But his Conservative group counterpart Cllr John Slater has accused him of 'misrepresentation and moaning'.

Cllr Riley has highlighted figures from Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities or SIGOMA which represents 47 urban authorities in the northern, midland and south-coast regions of England.

They say that Blackburn with Darwen has suffered a real terms cut of 31.8 per cent in core spending power between 2010/11 and 2023/24 - equivalent to £1,135.70 per household - and the worst for similar local authorities in England.

Cllr Riley said: “SIGOMA are a well respected independent organisation who specialise in local government finance and these figures are an important summary of what has happened to councils’ core spending power since 2010.

"We already knew about the huge impact of Tory government austerity cuts on Blackburn with Darwen Council but these figures show that the impact on the council was actually worse in percentage terms than on any other council in England.

"The report also shows that these cuts have cost every household in the borough a shocking £1,135.70 in spending power.

"What an indictment of the priorities of successive Tory governments who have deliberately moved money and resources from less well off Northern towns and cities to better off Southern places.”

Cllr Slater said: "This is more misrepresentation and moaning by Blackburn with Darwen Council's Labour leadership.

"In reality the authority's core spending power has increased by 33 per cent in the last five years according to research by the House of Commons Library.

"Cllr Riley conveniently ignores the £40million Blackburn has received from the government in Levelling Up funding and the £25m for the Darwen Town Deal.

"And that is before I even start on the money the council has wasted on vanity projects and disasters like the EastzEast restaurant in King George's Hall.

"Blackburn with Darwen has received more from this Conservative government than it ever did from Tony Blair's Labour administration."

SIGOMA's chairman Sir Stephen Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said: "The poorest areas have seen the biggest cuts and for 'levelling up' to mean anything the government should be looking to reverse these cuts and create a funding formula that funding according to council needs."