Rishi Sunak is "living in cloud cuckoo land" according to a councillor who criticised the comments he made about Sussex councils' finances.

Brighton councillor Jacob Taylor slammed the Prime Minister over his comments that councils would be better off this year than last year, and called additional funding insufficient.

It comes after Sunak visited Sussex and was quizzed by The Argus over how the government plans to support councils facing bankruptcy and in hundreds of millions of pounds in debt.

Cllr Taylor, Brighton and Hove Council's deputy leader and finance lead, said: "Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt are living in cloud cuckoo land if they think the funding of local government is currently sufficient.

"The significant rise in demand for our services, on top of inflationary pressures and the cost of living means that the local government finance settlement comes nowhere near to what is needed.

"This is why councils all over the country are struggling to stay afloat and maintain vital local services for their residents - because the Tories don't care about local government.

The Argus: Rishi Sunak in HorshamRishi Sunak in Horsham (Image: PA)

"It is telling that Conservative-led councils, including Kent and Surrey, have criticised their own government for not funding local services properly."

Brighton and Hove City Council said it was in almost £400 million pound in debt and was £100 million of government funding worse off in real terms than 14 years ago.

The Argus: Cllr Jacob TaylorCllr Jacob Taylor (Image: Brighton and Hove City Council)

Rishi Sunak said that councils would have on average 7.5 per cent more funding this year than last year but also blamed Labour for bankrupting councils including Birmingham.

The Prime Minister said: "We know there are pressures and actually since I became chief secretary and then chancellor over the course of this parliament, what you've seen is that the grant from central government to local government has risen every single year above inflation.

"That is the support coming from central government to local government, and also we're investing in local communities directly through our Levelling Up funds whether that's in Crawley or down in Hastings or Bexhill or Eastbourne.

"When it comes to councils, the Labour party bankrupted the largest local authority in Europe - Birmingham. The council was run into the ground."

Rishi Sunak visited Horsham to launch a new policy aiming to tackle shoplifting and assaults on shop workers.

Reporters asked Mr Sunak about council funding, potholes, housing and policing but was not allowed to be in the room with the Prime Minister while he interacted with shop workers and the public.

Cllr Alistair McNair, Tory leader in Brighton, said: "Rather than blame the Conservative government for local council finances, Labour should look closer to home.

"The Conservative government provided extraordinary funding through Covid - one has to wonder how sensibly the money was spent"