MINISTERS have been accused of trying to lure voters with a ‘bung’ while councils are still being forced to endure shrinking budgets.

The Government has announced proposals for a raft of lavish spending plans in recent weeks, including the recruiting 20,000 police officers and more cash for schools.

But Durham County Council's deputy leader, Councillor Alan Napier, told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday: “We’ve heard the headline of a spending review for next year and the promise of extra funding, but let’s not forget the scale of cuts this council has had to endure since 2010.A one year election bung will not solve the problems we have had to endure in County Durham while more prosperous areas have seen almost no reduction. There is no certainty of where we will be over the long term and planning ahead is almost impossible.”

The council expects a net underspend on its budget of more than £1m this year– equivalent to about 0.3 per cent of its overall budget of £419.581m– and to have to dip into its savings for almost £9m by the end of the current financial year.