TALKS about moving Lancashire into the strictest form of lockdown are ongoing this morning as local leaders wrestle with the Government over financial support packages.

The highly anticipated move into tier three was yesterday delayed as Ministers were accused of ‘dithering’ over the amount of financial support that would be offered to local authorities to support businesses and individuals affected by the lockdown.  

Negotiations are expected to be ongoing throughout the day as Lancashire’s ‘inevitable’ move into the ‘very high-risk’ category is debated.

As it stands both Pendle and Burnley are among the places in England with the highest infection rates – with Blackburn with Darwen also sitting in the top 20 worst affected place.

And while the majority of leaders seem to back a move into tier three to help curb the spread of the virus, non are willing to do so without a guarantee of support from Number 10.

The move would  close pubs, bars and gyms and ban households meeting in public places and private gardens as well as indoors.

Blackburn Labour MP Kate Hollern condemned Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s indecision after he announced this morning that several areas including London, Barrow in Furness and York were to be moved for tier one ‘medium’ to tier two but said nothing on Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

She said: “Whatever the decision ministers must stop dithering. There are people’s lives and livelihoods at risk.

“This is just causing general confusion and uncertainty among the public.”

Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “I am very disappointed that after six days of talks the government cannot come up woth an adequate support package for the county. This dithering is losing the support of the community.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs this morning: “Turning first to parts of the country where prevalence of the virus is highest, discussions are ongoing with local leaders on moving from high to very high. These are areas where transmission is rising at the sharpest rate and where we see a very real risk to the local NHS.

“Discussions with local leaders in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and elsewhere continue, and I do not want to pre-empt them. Those discussions do, of course, include what financial support is needed.”


The Joint Biosecurity Centre’s Gold Command is understood to have approved a tier three plan for Lancashire and Greater Manchester which county council leader Cllr Geoff Driver and Cllr Khan have said is ‘inevitable’.