PENDLE Council leader Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said he did not believe the new restrictions would control the virus in his borough.

He accused the government of 'bullying' Lancashire local authority leaders into accepting it terms for a deal.

But Cllr Iqbal said he could not leave Pendle's businesses without support on offer to those in neighbouring boroughs.

He said: "Lancashire leaders have been bullied by 10 Downing Street into accepting a deal that all sides know isn’t enough to stop the virus.

"I don't think these restrictions will control coronavirss in Pendle or in Lancashire as a whole.

"But I could not leave Pendle business with nothing in terms of support when something was on offer to businesses in Burnley just down the road.

’Lancashire leaders along with local public health directors have been calling for months for a fully functional test and trace system, clarity on regulations and guidance, greater enforcement and better testing in and around schools and educational facilities.

"Boris Johnson’s officials led by Sir Ed Lister were unwilling to listen to any evidence and worryingly for the public could not present to leaders any forward plan on how 10 Downing Street's proposal will control the virus. It was repeatedly pointed out to Sir Ed and government officials by Lancashire leaders that targeting just the hospitality sector is not enough.

"Schools, retail, the workplace and a minority of non-compliant individuals are where most of the coronavirus transmission occurs. Officials refused to take that public health evidence on board and said that these other areas of significant transmission 'were off-limits' and 'non-negotiable' by 10 Downing Street.

"Without strong leadership, clear rules and adequate resources with evidence-led measures, the government's strategy won’t stop the spread.

"Throughout the negotiations, government officials were only interested in the politics and threatened any District leader who did not fall into line with 10 Downing Streets threats to accept tier three would suffer an imposition of tier three and that their Borough 'would become an island' that would receive much less in funding and resource.

"When people on one side of the street are being resourced to help stop the virus whilst people on the other side of the street aren’t, they are instead being punished, then public health policy has collapsed.

"The government refused to accept that people on the minimum wage or very low incomes would not be able to survive for months on just 66 per cent of their wage having already endured 6 months of hardship. The government also refused to accept that measures to support the supply chains and other affected businesses and protect jobs are necessary.

"The chancellor, Rishi Sunak’s promise that the government will provide “whatever is necessary” has clearly become a broken promise to the people of Lancashire and the north.

"Lancashire Leaders have not been given the policies or the means to stop the spread of the virus and have been bullied for political gain by 10 Downing Street."