LANCASHIRE County Council's Labour group has called on the government to scrap its plan to remove the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Its economic regeneration spokeswoman Cllr Julie Gibson said removing the extra cash from the UK's main welfare benefit would force many families into poverty.

Her call came after new statistics revealed that the October change would hit more than 53,000 people in the east of the county.

Figures from the Trades Union Congress showed that 15,208 are currently on Universal Credit in Blackburn, of which 5,199 are in work.

In Rossendale and Darwen constituency 8,815 people are claiming the benefit; in Hyndburn 10,882; in Burnley 12,776 in Burnley; in Pendle 9,692; and in Ribble Valley 5,346.

Cllr Gibson said: "In February, the full meeting of Lancashire County Council unanimously backed my motion to government to listen to  the concerns of welfare organisations and charities and keep the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit.

"I urge the government to listen to its councillors, partner organisations and residents and 'keep the lifeline'. "