EAST Lancashire Liberal Democrat peer Lord Tony Greaves has called for extra government cash to pay for councils tracing the contacts of people who test positive for coronavirus.

He tackled junior health minister Lord Bethell on the issue at Westminster.

Lord Greaves praised Pendle Council for its work on Covid-19.

He told the minister: "This now includes local tracking of positive cases, the kinds of cases the national system has failed to reach.

"Can you explain why passing cases to the local level, which should be done within 24 hours, has in some cases taken four or five days?

"Furthermore, when a case has been reached, and more local contacts discovered, why do they have to be passed back to the national level and not quickly followed up locally? They might even be in the same street.

"Why are district councils such as Pendle not being provided with sufficient funding to cover all the costs of this work?

""Will the government give much more authority and resources to local people with the skills and local knowledge that are needed.

"Give us the tools and we will get on with the job."

Lord Bethell said: "I pay tribute to Pendle Council, which is an absolute model of local collaboration in the handling of a local outbreak.

"The story you tell illustrates a harsh truth: not everyone wants to be traced.

"It sometimes takes persistence and determination to track people who may be recipients of some very difficult news about their isolation.

"That is why we work with local authorities to do it.

"Our approach is to give those on the ground the tools they need."