EAST Lancashire council bosses have said government grants worth almost £500,000 are not enough to get their high streets back to business after coronavirus subsides.

The cash, announced this week, aims to help local authorities support the reopening of shops closed by the Covid-19 lockdown.

The six councils will share £485,425 from the £50million ‘Reopening High Streets Safely Fund’’.

Blackburn with Darwen has received £131,610, Hyndburn £76,676, Burnley £78,757, Ribble Valley £53,771, Pendle £81,195 and Rossendale £63,416.

The grants from the Department of Local Government come from the European Regional Development Fund and are on top of previous awards from Future High Streets and and Towns Funds.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley said: “We are certainly pleased to receive this money, one of the last grants from the European Union. It almost certainly will not be enough but it is a start.”

Cllr Gordon Birtwistle, Burnley borough’s Liberal Democrat economic development boss, said: “This is a very, very small drop in the ocean. It’s better than nothing but a pinprick compared to what will be required.”

Cllr Stephen Atkinson, Conservative leader of Ribble Valley Council, said: “This money is very welcome indeed. We will probably have to request more but I accept that there are other cost pressures on the government at this time.”

Hyndburn Council’s Labour leader Cllr Miles Parkinson said: “There is never enough money but any is welcome. We may have to ask for more.”

The grants will support a range of practical safety measures including new signs, street markings and temporary barriers to prepare for the reopening of non-essential retail premises when the scientific advice allows after June 1. Councils will also be able to use the money to develop local marketing campaigns.

High Streets Minister Simon Clarke said: “As we slowly return to normality, the re-opening of our high streets will be key to kick-starting our economic recovery.

“Supporting our high streets has always been central to the mission of this government.

“Many businesses have already introduced creative ways of trading such as contactless collection or taking orders by instant messaging and this shows that they are ready for the challenges ahead.”