BURY is among the country's elite when it comes to passing on money to the borough's schools.

The council is ranked eighth out of 150 local education authorities in new Government league tables on education finance.

Bury's high standing comes as other councils have been condemned for "stashing away" funding that they should be distributing to schools more quickly.

Councillor Steve Perkins, executive member for lifelong learning, said: "Even though we are still one of England's poorest funded education authorities, our schools receive much more than the Government's own formula calculations indicate they should: in fact, we now spend more than £1 million above what the Government says we should.

"Recent figures have shown that we actually distribute 118 per cent of Government grant to our schools: I think that is pretty good going in anyone's books."

Coun Perkins added: "Education is one of our priorities, if not our number one, and we have built up a tremendous relationship with our family of schools which we are determined to maintain.

"While there might be criticism of others, it is good to see that our LEA is working well and efficiently. That was confirmed only days ago with a glowing Ofsted report. Among other things, independent education experts acknowledged that the authority's allocation of resources to priorities was one of its particular and many strengths."

In response to the tables, the Local Government Association says the underlying problem is insufficient funding to meet rising costs faced by schools. This is compounded by red tape and strict rules over the distribution of money for certain items, such as computers in schools.