SENIOR leaders urged Government bosses to reverse a decade of council cuts whoever wins the upcoming general election.

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader, Cllr Mohammed Khan, and chief executive, Denise Park, laid out the stark reality of years of slashed budgets on services across the borough.

And they said things could get worse if settlements to councils do not improve whoever is running the country after voters across the country go to the polls on Thursday.

But Conservative group leader, Cllr John Slater, branded their vision for the future of the council disappointing.

He said he was pushing hard to get Conservative members in other East Lancashire authorities to sign up to the idea of a Pennine Lancashire unitary authority because a different approach was needed.

Ms Park told councillors at a policy council meeting in Blackburn town hall: "After 10 years of ongoing austerity, we have seen a significant impact on us locally and across the north.

"The IPPR in its State of the North report highlighted that since 2010, public spending has fallen by £6.3 billion.

"Their latest report shows since 2014, there are more people in poverty and low-paid work in the north.

"In Blackburn with Darwen, there are 40 per cent of our children and young people living in poverty compared to the national average of 27 per cent.

"As a council we are here to do the best for our residents and we continue to provide services and work with partners and neighbouring authorities to make the best of the resources we have."

Cllr Khan added £140 million had been cut from the council's budget over the last 10 years.

He said at a time where demand was rising and expectations from the public were high, the council was turning to relationships with the community to negate some of the impact of the cuts by keeping services like libraries running voluntarily.

Cllr Khan said: "Investment in public authorities is vital, especially in areas like ours.

"The council has a lot to be proud of in delivering services year after year under tough financial constraints."

Cllr Slater said it was the same old story from the ruling Labour group.

He added: "It's recycled stuff and this is a massive missed opportunity for this council.

"It should be the start of a revolution but you have buried your heads in the sand.

"It's absolute nonsense.

"I can't wait for the Pennine Lancashire authority to come forward because if this is all you can come up with as a vision for the borough, it's really sad.

"This is why I am pushing for a unitary authority and going round trying to sell this idea to other Conservative councillors in other areas.

"I'm going to Hyndburn next month to talk about it but the other Labour-run councils don't want to join up."