BLACKBURN with Darwen Council's leader has appealed to small shopkeepers not to hike their prices during the conravirus outbreak.

Cllr Mohammed Khan spoke out after receiving calls from residents about corner shops, especially Asian-run ones, profiteering from the crisis.

He is asking borough chief executive Denise Park to write to the government see if councils can be given powers to control the prices of essential food and goods during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cllr Khan contacted the Lancashire Telegraph to say: "People have been contacting me to says that small shops, particularly Asian ones, have been increasing their prices because of the current crisis.

"I am very concerned about those prices hikes as are people in the community.

"This should not be happening.

"Shopkeepers should not be putting profits before people.

"I am getting reports of Asian shopkeepers putting prices up for Halal meat and chicken, chapati flour and toilet and kitchen rolls by 50 per cent.

"In this crisis corner shops should not be profiteering.

"I appeal to Asian and other small shopkeepers to keep their prices reasonable and put their customers and the community before making money.

"Making a reasonable profit is fine but making a 50 per cent profit is not

"I have spoken to the council's chief executive Denise Park about this and she says we have now powers to control prices in shops.

"I have asked her to write to the government asking them to give us powers to stop profiteering by shops during the coronavirus crisis."