HYNDBURN Council will give an extra £85,000 of taxpayers' money to bail out the borough's hard-up leisure trust.
The move was agreed this week but one councillor described it as "like plugging a black hole".
The Trust, which manages leisure services including Hyndburn Sports Centre and Mercer Hall in Great Harwood, already receives a grant of £800,000 a year and will now get an extra 10 per cent after running into financial difficulties.
Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "We have been working in partnership with the Trust for five years and have now approved measures for additional financial support.
"This is effectively a long-term loan to ease cash flow.
"The money comes from underspending in other areas and is at no additional cost to the council.
"We are able to offer our support as the Trust helped us through difficult times three years ago by taking an unwelcome cut in grants after we inherited a £2M deficit when taking control of the council."
He added: "This will help restore those cuts from previous years and I would like to thank the Trust for the work it has done in revitalising sports facilities and its £1.2M investment in the borough."
But speaking after the meeting, Labour leader, Councillor Graham Jones, said the statement read out by Councillor Britcliffe showed the gravity of the Trust's financial problems which he said were in "chaos".
Councillor Jones said the council was effectively underwriting the Trust's debt and funding its bad decisions and wage bill with taxpayers' money.
This claim was vehemently denied by the Trust's chief executive Joe Balko, who said the auditors were happy with its finances.
Mr Balko said: "We are looking at ways to become cost-effective but we have experienced increases of 112 per cent in electricity bills. These extra costs can't be passed on to the service users so we put forward a claim to the council.
"We can't continue to do this so we are trying to make ourselves more energy-efficient to save money."
Councillor Britcliffe said the total amount of money given to the Trust each year was far less than the amount of money the council had to pay when it provided direct leisure services to the borough.
The leisure trust was set up in 2001 as an "arm's length" organisation to run the council's lesiure facilities which also include Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre and Wilson's playing fields in Clayton-le-Moors.
But proposals to hand the running of the Haworth Art Gallery over to the Trust could now be shelved.