CASH-strapped councillors in Burnley probably have the worst town hall facilities in Britain, says Labour stalwart Beryl Barnes.

And she believes their cash allowances are among the lowest in the country.

The Queensgate councillor poured scorn on critics who opposed a proposed 150 per cent expenses hike for councillors in the town.

Coun Barnes also made it clear that town hall comforts for councillors were far from palatial.

She told the policy committee that the Members Room boasted only a few leather chairs "bought as a job lot" and a photocopier.

"The carpet is threadbare and has been repaired a few times.

"The facilities must be the very worst in the whole of Great Britain," she said.

Coun Barnes, vice-chairman of the general purposes committee, said councillors had for years maintained a policy of spending little on their own comforts.

And she said criticism of an independent local commission's recommendations for allowances to Burnley councillors to rise from a total of £50,000 to £123,000 was wrong. "All they seem to be talking about is massive increases, when the facts in the survey show we are at the very bottom of the payment league."

However, Conservative leader Enid Tate did not believe Burnley should follow the lead of other councils which paid more to members.

"It does seem like an awful lot of money and we would find it difficult to justify to the people of the town," she said.

She added: "We stood for election because we felt we could do something for the people of Burnley, not to put money in our pockets."

Independent leader Harry Brooks called the proposed increases "unreasonable and unaffordable" and there was similar criticism from Liberal Democrat Gordon Birtwistle.

But Labour finance chief Peter Kenyon accused them of simply banging the drums of popular prejudice.

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