Hyndburn Council has released 52 cash grants totalling £80,000 to local organisations after a Labour review of how they were allocated.

The party had 'called in' the awards to organisations from the borough's Community Chest Fund.

They were concerned as a last-minute change to the criteria for allocating the small grants by deputy leader and finance boss Cllr Peter Britcliffe of the ruling Conservative group.

There was a bitter row at January's meeting of the authority's cabinet, when he revealed the late change in how the fund worth £80,000 worked.

The original intention was to allocate this money on the basis of £5,000 for each of the borough’s 16 wards but Cllr Britcliffe and fellow deputy leader Cllr Steven Smithson decided to alter the system to award the grants across ward boundaries and in sometimes larger sums.

Labour accused the Conservative administration of favouring Tory wards in a bid to win votes in May's local elections, dubbing the new system 'Britcliffe Bingo'.

The party called an extraordinary meeting of the council's resources overview and scrutiny committee on Friday to review the decision.

Moving the 'Call In', Barnfield ward's Cllr Mike Booth said Labour had no intention of cancelling any of the grants but was concerned about the process used and the late change of criteria.

He said many organisations were confused by what had happened and the review was needed to learn lessons for any future community chest awards procedure.

Cllr Britcliffe told the meeting: "All this call in has done is cause dither and delay and worry to the community groups waiting to receive the grants."

He highlighted the case of Accrington Cricket and Tennis Club which needed its community chest grant of £2,000 to apply for funding from other sources.

Cllr Britcliffe said: "We made the change because when we looked at the applications they did not fit neatly into electoral ward boundaries."

Seconding the call in, Overton ward's Cllr Scott Brerton said: "We don't want any allocated monies to be redirected or clawed back.

"This is about the process and what went well and what did not."

Co-opted committee member Richard Downie told the meeting: "It seems the decision was taken by two people according to their personal preferences."

Fellow co-opted member, and former Labour and then Independent Hyndburn Council leader Miles Parkinson, accused Labour of 'political posturing'.

Committee chair and Green party leader Cllr Paddy Short said the change of criteria seemed like 'common sense' in adjusting the process to meet the reality.

Cllr Booth said: "I think we have learnt a lot from the exercise.

"I think in the future we could be a lot clearer about what the borough is looking for in allocating grants of taxpayers' money."

Cllr Britcliffe said: "I don't think we have learned anything at all."

The committee voted unanimously to award the grants agreed by January's Cabinet unchanged.