Councillors in Cornwall should buy the "darkest sunglasses they can possibly get" after awarding themselves a pay rise at a time of austerity, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has told the Western Morning News.
The Conservative minister hit out at Cornwall politicians for having their "nose in the trough" after they voted in October to bump up their pay packets by £2,472 a year.
The 20% increase to £14,600 saddles the taxpayer with an extra £304,056 a year.
Mr Pickles this month issued another round of brutal cuts to local authority spending, which will see the authority having to find almost £30 million of savings in the next two years – cuts which critics say authorities will struggle to cope with.
Mr Pickles said: "I would suggest they spend that money on buying themselves the darkest sunglasses they can possibly get.
"And the reason they are going to need dark sunglasses is they will find it very difficult looking into the eyes of their employees who have had to endure a pay cut over a period of time. And I believe councils should lead from the front, not put their nose in the trough."
Mr Pickles also turned his wrath on councils in Devon for refusing to collect bins weekly. He said waste collection was important as it was the only "visible" service most taxpayers got from the local authority.
"It's the basic right for every English man and woman to be able to put the remnants of their chicken tikka masala in their bin without having to wait a fortnight for it to be collected," he said.