"A council has said it will cancel a village hall’s rate subsidy if it hosts a speech by British National Party leader Nick Griffin.
Mr Griffin is due to give a talk at Baldslow Memorial Hall in St Leonards, East Sussex, today. But Hastings Borough Council has told those who run the hall they will have to repay the £376 they received as a charity in rate relief if the speech goes ahead.
However the council has been accused of trying to 'blackmail' the village hall.
Hastings Borough Council leader Jeremy Birch said the local authority was 'committed to equality of opportunity and to community harmony. He added: 'We have no intention of providing financial subsidy to those who aim to undermine these principles.'
BNP party spokesman Simon Darby said: 'It's quite beyond belief what they are trying to do. 'They're basically seeking to tax people who don't agree with the Labour Party, which is not really the British way to do things.
'It's effectively blackmail, putting a gun to the people that run the hall by giving them a financial penalty if Nick is allowed to speak there. He's an MEP [Member of the European Parliament], he's not some person off the street.'