A BOROUGH has suspended all council meetings until the end of May because of the coronavirus crisis.

Hyndburn has also cancelled Mayoral engagements for the next two and half months.

The move, the first by an East Lancashire local authority, follows the government cancelling May's local government elections.

Hyndburn's Conservative MP Sara Britcliffe, the council's Labour leader Cllr Miles Parkinson an leader of the opposition Tory group Cllr Tony Dobson have issued a joint statement on the Covid-19 pandemic.

They have urged people keen to help others during the crisis to join established volunteering groups.

It says: “We know our residents are worried about Coronavirus/COVID:19 and we want to reassure them that at this time of national crisis the wellbeing of our residents is our top priority and public safety comes first.

"We’re united in our aim to continue to work with the Government and colleagues in the NHS and Public Health England and other public bodies and have put aside our political differences to pull together to do all we can to support Hyndburn people through this time.

"The government has cancelled local elections in May. We are suspending all cabinet, committee and council meetings up to the end of May and we’re currently in the process of cancelling mayoral engagements scheduled up to the end of May, after which we’ll reassess the position.

"We’ve made preparations for council staff and the vital services we deliver right across the borough. We’re keeping our policies and business continuity plans constantly under review as the situation develops, to ensure we can continue to deliver essential services and safeguard staff and the public as best we can.

"We want to support our vulnerable people through this period and know many local people are keen to volunteer to help those who need it most during this time of crisis.

"A huge thanks goes out to them, but with a plea to only join organised groups that are already set up, and therefore are properly trained with the appropriate safety checks in place, so as not to undermine the drive to help our most vulnerable residents.

"We know that we all need to work together to get through this, so please follow government advice to help stop the spread of the virus and look out for the more vulnerable in our community."