THE Government has 'short-changed' Bolton by £9.5 million in its latest funding allocation for school places expansion, it has been revealed.

Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris tonight called on the town's opposition party leaders to back him in telling ministers ‘this is not on’.

Speaking at his final full council meeting as Bolton's Labour leader, Cllr Morris revealed that the council has just been informed that the funding it will receive from the Government for expanding schools in 2018/19 falls almost £10 million short of the £24 million that was requested.

The result, he said, will be that schools in Bolton will not be able to expand and families will miss out on the school places they want.

Cllr Morris added: "What are we going to do in these schools when parents are knocking on the door saying that their children haven't got a place?

"I hope that you will write to the minister with me, saying that this is not on."

The council leader, who was given a standing ovation at the meeting's close, was speaking during a debate on funding for children in care.

Councillors voted unanimously to back Cllr Ann Cunliffe's motion calling on the Government to 'urgently act to bridge the gap between resources allocated to councils and costs associated with rising numbers of children in care'.

She told council members that funding for children in care had now 'dried up' at a time when demand was rising.

Bolton’s number of looked after children is at an all-time high of 630, UKIP leader Cllr Hornby said.

He added: "Unlike the Shire councils, the North West has felt the full impact of the cuts year after year."

Cllr Martyn Cox added that councillors should look at themselves and ask why this debate taken so long to come onto the agenda.

He said: “This is Cllr Morris’ last full council as leader and I have disagreed with him on almost everything in that time. But I have never doubted his or Cllr Thomas’ commitment to this, they have constantly mentioned it and brought it up. But there are a lot of other councillors who have not.”

Fellow Tory councillor Zoe Kirk-Robinson argued that Bolton — as a town of refuge — should be given extra funding to support children coming to the town from overseas who need to be taken into care.