BOLTON'S opposition party leaders have welcomed the return of a £300,000 grant given by the council to Asons Solicitors.

Council leader, Cllr Cliff Morris, announced at a town hall meeting tonight that the controversial grant had been repaid in full by Kamran Akram, a former director of the Churchgate firm.

The terms of the grant were breached when Asons ceased trading last week, with all of its employees transferred to a new firm - Coops Law, which is owned by another member of the Akram family.

While welcoming news of the money's return, the councillors also warned that proper scrutiny of the council's decision-making process was still required.

Cllr David Greenhalgh, Conservative leader, said: "If the council has retrieved the money then that is hugely welcome, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the decision was hugely flawed.

"I am delighted the money is back and can now be used for its correct purpose."

He added: "It is hugely welcome news, but it does not alter the fact that scrutiny still has to be done."

Cllr Roger Hayes, Liberal Democrat leader, said: "I am very pleased that we have the money back.

"But I think the whole thing has been an absolute farce. I am still very annoyed about how the whole thing has happened, the money should never have been awarded in the first place."

READ MORE: Bolton Council's £300,000 grant to Asons Solicitors is paid back in full

UKIP group leader, Cllr Sean Hornby, said that he wanted to see proof the repayment and was unhappy that opposition leaders had not been briefed on the situation prior to the council meeting.

He said: "We were promised on Monday that we would be updated every step of the way.

"If the money was repaid on Tuesday, then we should have been told about it and it was instead used for political purposes tonight."

Cllr Greenhalgh said he wanted a further briefing to clarify "exactly what had happened."

Cllr Hayes added that it was "unrealistic" to expect the opposition to be briefed and that he was not upset at the situation.