LABOUR councillors have been accused of playing politics with the Breightmet area forum budget after a dispute over funding.

Bolton North East Wildlife Trail (NEWT) applied for £1,000 towards two events but ended up with nothing.

The application was considered at a meeting where Conservative Cllr Adele Warren declared an interest as treasurer of NEWT and subsequently left the room.

She claims she was told the application was successful but received an email days later stating only £150 had been allocated.

The group did not receive any funding as they failed to answer some questions sent after the issue was raised at an area forum meeting.

Cllr Warren said: “I was a little disappointed. If they needed these questions answered, they would have needed it before. In my opinion it was political.”

The events went ahead with more than 160 people attending on October 28.

Bolton NEWT chair Chris Banks said a £500 donation from housing association Clarion Futures was essential as was £700 spent by the volunteers.

He said: “At the end of the day, we went there with the best of intentions. It looks like they have only allowed Labour members to use the funding. They are playing politics with it.”

He noted that £500 was previously awarded to Breightmet Scarecrow Festival which is organised by a Labour candidate but councillors said this funding was allocated by Bolton at Home.

Mr Banks also said councillors John Byrne and Debbie Newall should have declared an interest because of historical complaints of misconduct he made against his representatives.

Although those complaints were resolved, there is currently an open complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman which the councillors say they are unaware of.

The Labour councillors say they did not approve the full amount and Cllr Warren accepted that at the meeting which ended amicably.

They said the group did not receive funding because they failed to produce information requested.

Cllr Newall said: “We put Bolton first. We try to make that money go as far as we can for the biggest number of people. We don’t play politics. It’s not about that.”