HEALTH Secretary Matt Hancock has praised residents of Burnley over their efforts to get the borough out of strict coronavirus restrictions.

Constituency MP Antony Higginbotham raised the issue as the House of Commons returned yesterday.

The borough was released from strict Covid19 — rules today along with Hyndburn.

Mr Higginbotham asked the cabinet minister: "The people of Burnley have had the additional restrictions that have been in place for the last month removed. That is possible only because of the efforts and sacrifice of people across Burnley, These have been difficult measures, but they have been effective at driving down the virus. Can you reassure me, though, that as an area of enhanced support, we will still get access to Government support to ensure that we continue to make progress?"

Mr Hancock replied:"You are quite right to praise the people of Burnley. Because of the actions they have taken—because they have followed their duty and followed those tougher rules—and the sacrifices they have made, the case rate has come down in Burnley, Absolutely, the enhanced support will continue in Burnley."

Speaking afterwards Mr Higginbotham said: “I know that these restrictions have been tough for everyone, with people unable to see family and friends and some businesses still unable to operate. I’m very pleased to see we’re now moving in the right direction, which has led us to be able to be in the same position as the rest of the country. That is down to our efforts and sacrifices here.

"Moving forwards we cannot be complacent though and need to make sure that we continue be vigilant. That means sticking with our first line of defence through more frequent hand washing, social distancing and face masks when in crowded places; and having a robust second line with significant testing and engagement with NHS Test and Trace.”