BLACKBURN with Darwen Council has been given an extra £1.38million from the government to control coronavirus infections in care homes.

Lancashire County Council received £16.19m

Pendle Conservative MP Andrew Stephenson welcomed the cash but Blackburn with Darwen's Labour health boss Cllr Damian Talbot branded it 'just a short-term sticking plaster'

Both county council Tory leader Cllr Geoff Driver and opposition group leader Cllr Azhar Ali welcomed the money but said more was needed.

The cash was awarded this week from the Department for Health and Social Care's £600m Infection Control Fund as the scale of the death toll in care homes became clear.

The latest Office for National Statistics figures show that between April 4 and May 15 there were 188 deaths in care homes in the Lancashire County Council area registered with Covid-19 as the cause and another 12 in Blackburn with Darwen.

The grant is to help homes bring in steps to reduce coronavirus trans mission including training in infection control; limiting staff movement betweens sites and improving NHS clinical support to them.There are 12,619 care home beds registered in the Lancashire County Council area and 1,081 in Blackburn with Darwen.

Mr Stephenson said: " This new funding will make a real difference. By putting in place stronger prevention, we can ensure we continue to drive coronavirus out of our care homes, making them safer and better able to look after people.”

Cllr Talbot said: "This grant is obviously welcome but in terms of the total costs of combatting coronavirus it's just a short-term sticking plaster."

Cllr Driver said: "This grant is excellent news and much needed. The support we have received from government is nowhere enough to cover the county council's extra adult social care costs because of Covid-19 but this money is a good help."

Labour's Cllr Ali said: "Money is always welcome but the government is a bit late with this, shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

"Infections in care homes are plateauing but there is still a shortage of PPE for staff which is putting them at risk. There needs to be money for investment in adult social care for the future. It is essential the government makes up the shortfall in county council funding caused by Covid-19."