BLACKBURN with Darwen’s political boss has publicly promised he has no plans for a borough-wide lockdown despite the recent spike in coronavirus cases.

Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of the council, said he was looking at targeted restrictions in individual neighbourhoods if the council’s latest special measures failed to halt the spread of Covid-19.

He said there were no proposals to lockdown Blackburn or Darwen town centres again.

Cllr Khan also said the latest government grant of £1.6m towards the costs of the pandemic was not enough to cover the financial damage to the council.

His view was echoed by Lancashire County Council leader Cllr Geoff Driver, who said its £8.2m share of the latest £500m allocation of Whitehall cash would still leave the authority £35m short of its total coronavirus bill.

Cllr Khan was tackled on the possibility of a Leicester-style total lockdown at the borough’s full Council Forum on Thursday night.

Resident Martin Kerry asked him: “Given the experience of Leicester, will Blackburn undertake to make any lockdown targeted to specific areas and specific venues and businesses rather than a borough-wide approach?”

Cllr Khan said: “Blackburn with Darwen has a clear approach to contain the spread of the virus with an action plan.

“Given a higher rate of positive cases now, we are designating the borough a Covid-19 Prevention Zone.

“I can confirm that we have no intention of allowing a borough-wide lockdown like Leicester if we can at all help it.

“In our view such a measure would not effectively address the specific Covid-19 challenges we have.

“If we do have to begin reversing specific lockdown measures from July 27, these will be proportionate and targeted at the specific causes of continued community transmission.

“There is no indication at the moment to suggest that a borough-wide lockdown of commercial venues and businesses would be necessary or effective.”

Cllr Khan told the Lancashire Telegraph afterwards: “We have no plans to lockdown Blackburn or Darwen town centres.

“We might have to take further measures in specific areas, say Bastwell, Little Harwood or Wensley Fold.

“They might include closing certain places in those neighbourhoods such as some shops, pubs, mosques, churches, nail bars or beauty salons.”

He also warned this week’s latest emergency cash grant from the government, bringing the total sum awarded to Blackburn with Darwen to £10.9m, was still inadequate to cover the council’s costs.

Cllr Khan said: “It probably just about covers our extra costs from coronavirus but not the loss of income. The government has said we will only get 75 per cent of this, which still leaves us about £4.4m short.

“I told Prime Minister Boris Johnson we would need to have this shortfall made up by the government when he rang me on Wednesday.”

Cllr Driver said of the county council’s £8.2m: “It’s still not enough.

“I’ve written to government asking them to stand by the undertaking that they have given that they will refund local authorities for all the extra expenditure as a result of Covid,” he added.

This week’s grant allocation saw Burnley receive £229,000, Hyndburn £188,000, Pendle £201,000, Ribble Valley £77,000 and Rossendale £132,000.