EAST Lancashire’s Labour local authority leaders have backed county council Tory political boss Geoff Driver’s criticism of the government over coronavirus cash compensation,

This week he sent a letter to the Prime Minister’s chief strategic adviser, Sir Ed Lister, outlining ‘serious concerns’ over the ‘apparent disregard’ for an agreement reached in mid-October which secured an extra £30 million to cope with the tier three measures before the national lockdown.

Cllr Driver said that as London and other southern areas could receive the same compensation for the four-week lockdown as Lancashire will for seven weeks of restrictions, the county should get an extra £20m for the additional three weeks.

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan: “Our borough has been in some form of restrictions for months. Our businesses have suffered terribly.

“The government must follow through on its promises of financial support for our businesses which have to remain closed.

“Businesses, especially our pubs, restaurants and those who supply them will not survive without more support.

“We will continue to hold the government to account to make sure they deliver the support, extra powers and funding that they promised and we desperately need.”

Hyndburn Council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson said: “Cllr Driver is absolutely right. We do need more investment and we need it soon.”

Burnley Council leader Cllr Mark Townsend said: “I absolutely support this letter. Lancashire was badly treated in the negotiations over this and and the government needs to follow up with more financial support.”

Pendle Council leader Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said in a separate letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “As a consequence of the decision to enter lockdown, it would appear that rather than recognising the significant impact of the continuing impact of a higher level of restrictions in Pendle (and, indeed, Lancashire as a whole), every place in the country is being treated the same regardless of how long restrictions have been in place.

“My concern is that with lockdown, the level of business support appears to have been equalized across the country which fails to recognise the depth of the impact of restrictions on Pendle which has been under some form of lockdown for a considerable period of time.”

Rossendale Council leader Alyson Barnes said: “The Government’s support has had a positive effect in stabilising a local businesses. However, 68 per cent of our businesses are at risk of collapse if sufficient Government financial support is not sustained until a full recovery is made. It is absolutely essential that government takes notice of what local authorities are saying.”