AN East Lancashire MP has warned the government that morale and mental health among residents under tough coronavurus restrictions is suffering

Hyndburn Tory backbencher Sara Britcliffe tackled Health Secretary Matt Hancock on the issue as the county was put into tier three Covid Alert Level 'Very High'.

She told him in the House of Commons: "In Hyndburn and Haslingden—and, in fact, across Lancashire—we have some of the strongest people I have ever met.

"We will do everything we can to get our infection rate down, because that is what we do when times are tough: we come together.

"However, morale is low and mental health is suffering as people cannot see their families and some have been unable to see their loved ones in care homes since March.

"Will you outline what the government are doing to mitigate that situation, and what steps are being taken to try to facilitate safe visits, given that there is no clear end date?"

Mr Hancock replied: "In Hyndburn, there have been restrictions for some time and I appreciate how hard that is.

"We must ensure, just as places have to go into level thee restrictions when we are concerned about the ability of the NHS to cope if things get further out of hand, that so too will we reduce those restrictions as soon as we can safely.

"We will do that not necessarily across a whole county, but on a district-by-district level if that is what the data says should be done.

"That is ​something we are constantly looking at. For now, the single most important message to everybody in Hyndburn and across Lancashire is: let’s pull together, follow the rules and get this under control."