Blackburn with Darwen Borough and Lancashire County Councils have been given an extra £7.9 million to share to boost bus services.

The new cash from the government is for 2024/25, and comes on top of the two transport authorities being award almost £10 m between them at the end of last month to protect and enhance services.

The latest Whitehall cash comes from the £36 billion saved by the controversial cancelling the Northern leg of the HS2 rail link to Manchester, which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to spend on new transport projects in the North and Midlands.

He has revealed £150m of the redirected HS2 funding will be used to improve bus services for 2024/2025.

The extra cash has been welcomed by Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Cllr Phil Riley and Lancashire County Council transport boss Cllr Rupert Swarbrick.

Mr Sunak said this was the first allocation of a £1bn investment into bus services under his Network North plan.

In 2024/2025 Blackburn with Darwen Council will get an extra £880,000 and Lancashire County Council a further £7.025m.

Last month the Department of Transport allocated all-purpose authority Blackburn with Darwen Council has £470,171 for 2023/24 and the same amount in 2024/25 from its Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus (BSIP+) grant pot.

Lancashire County Council - which provides highways and transport services to 12 districts including Ribble Valley, Hyndburn, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale - was given £4.49m for each of the two financial years.

Mr Sunak also revealed the government's ‘Get Around for £2’ scheme, pegging bus fares, will be extended from November 1 to December 31, 2024, rather than the cap rising to £2.50.

Cllr Riley said: “Blackburn with Darwen Council share with the government a desire to continue to rebuild local bus services and to increase the number of passengers who use those services so any new money that will help with this objective will always be put to good use.”

Cllr Swarbrick said: "We're already working hard to make buses in Lancashire more frequent, reliable and affordable.

"This announcement is very welcome and means we can do even more to meet our aim of creating a network which more people will use for regular journeys, with more buses throughout the day, as well as at evening and weekends.

"The news that the £2 fare cap is being extended until the end of next year is also very welcome."

Mr Sunak said: “This announcement marks the start of the Network North plan coming into action.

“We’re backing buses with one of the biggest ever support packages and keeping bus fares down to ensure the country’s favourite means of transport is more affordable for millions of people. "