LANCASHIRE politicians from across party lines have united to call upon prime minister Boris Johnson for more support as the county battles rising coronavirus infections.

This comes as Lancashire braces itself for stricter restrictions coming into force from Tuesday onwards which will require various businesses to shut after 10pm.

Now, in a letter addressed to the prime minister and signed by Blackburn Labour MP Kate Hollern, Conservative Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council leader Mohammed Khan and many others, local leaders are calling for an enhanced test and trace system along with greater clarity about financial support available to help tackle the virus.

The open letter reads: “We support the announcement made by the Government to take steps to tackle the spread of the virus, and we urge the public to follow the new rules.

“However, it is clear that local leaders who are at the heart of the national effort to beat this virus are facing a series of challenges that can only be resolved by the government.

“Principally, those concerns centre around the test and trace system, which is failing to keep pace with the demand for testing across the country, and the lack of local government funding.”

The politicians are calling primarily for a fully resourced and localised test and trace programme across those local authorities most at risk: Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Preston, Rossendale, Hyndburn, Pendle, Oldham and Bolton.

They are also calling for the government to put economic incentives in place to help local business remain COVID secure and to provide more financial help to affected councils.

The letter reads: “Though welcome, the funding settlements local authorities have received simply have not covered their costs.

“Local authorities across Lancashire are doing the best they can, but desperately need clarity about the financial support available to them to fund the infection control work on the ground.

“Without adequate support for local authorities, we fear that a sustained increase in the infection rate may result in pushing local council and NHS services to the brink once again.

“Lancashire is a region of high deprivation that also needs a long-term strategy to address the underlying structural, housing and health inequalities.”

It adds: “As elected representatives across Lancashire, we cannot impress strongly enough upon you how important it is that local authorities have the resources and support they need to play their role in protecting public health.”

The full list of signatories:

• Kate Hollern, MP for Blackburn

• Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire

• Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen

• Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

• Sir Mark Hendrick, MP for Preston

• Councillor Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council

• Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Borough Council

• Councillor Miles Parkinson OBE, leader of Hyndburn Borough Council

• Councillor Charlie Briggs, leader of Burnley Borough Council

• Councillor Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council

• Councillor Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

• Councillor Alyson Barnes, leader of Rossendale Borough Council

• Councillor Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council

• Councillor Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council

• Councillor Ian Moran, leader of West Lancashire Borough Council