We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)
  • Article: Feb 24, 2021

    Blackburn with Darwen Council are proposing to increase the Council Tax by the maximum 3.99% at the Council Meeting on Monday (1 March). Darwen East Liberal Democrat Councillor, Roy Davies described it as "a smack in the face".

    He said, "With unemployment still high and the uncertainty over coronavirus, I think there could not be a worse time to implement any rises in council tax. This will be a smack in the face to Blackburn with Darwen residents who have endured so much over the last 12 months."

  • Article: Feb 20, 2021

    Blackburn with Darwen public health director, Professor Dominic Harrison, has given this coronavirus update to local media.

    Next Monday, 22nd February, Boris Johnson will announce a detailed roadmap out of lockdown. We also expect him to sketch out the roadmap to 'Pandemic Exit' over the next 12 months.

  • Article: Feb 19, 2021

    The High Court has ruled that the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, acted unlawfully. In a case brought by the Good Law Project and supported by Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, the judge Mr Justice Chamberlain ruled that the Health Secretary had acted unlawfully in not publishing contracts he had awarded within 30 days, as stipulated by law. As an example he had awarded contracts worth £15bn for PPE, but only £2.68bn had been published. The judge said, "The secretary of state's evidence provides a cogent explanation of his historic failure to comply … but this explanation amounts to an excuse, not a justification. It follows that, in my judgment, the secretary of state acted unlawfully by failing to comply with the transparency policy."

  • Article: Feb 19, 2021

    In the week ending 12 February 2021, the highest positivity rate was seen in the North West, followed by London. The North East, South West and South East had the lowest percentages of people testing positive for COVID- 19 according to the Office for National Statistics. The percentage testing positive were:

  • Article: Feb 18, 2021

    A report by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which has been leaked to the Guardian newspaper, has concluded that due to "unmet financial need" many poorer families have been unable to self isolate. The government set up schemes to give financial help to people but the study found in Blackburn with Darwen more people seeking financial help to self isolate had been rejected than accepted.

  • Article: Feb 18, 2021

    Blackburn Labour Councillor Hussain Akhtar was seen encouraging young people to walk on a dangerously frozen lake. Video footage of the incident is circulating on social media. Liberal Democrats have condemned his behaviour. Lib Dem Councillor Roy Davies said, "This is so irresponsible. The council is telling people not to walk on frozen water as it could be fatal and here we have a councillor encouraging it. He should do the honourable thing and resign." This is the second incident in a week where a Labour councillor on Blackburn with Darwen council has had to be censured. It follows the Labour Mayor being fined for attending an illegal gathering in contravention of Covid regulations.

  • Article: Feb 15, 2021

    Blackburn with Darwen mayor, Labour Councillor Ifakhar Hussain has resigned and suspended himself from the Labour group. This follows his receipt of a £200 fine from Lancashire police. Liberal Democrat Councillor, Paul Browne said, "He has done the right thing in resigning as mayor, but he should also resign as a councillor. Those in public office need to set an example. We can't expect the public to follow the rules if we don't follow them ourselves."

  • Article: Feb 11, 2021

    Blackburn with Darwen school children who are eligible can have vouchers over half term.

    The vouchers can be used in both Blackburn and Darwen Markets and can be used at even more stalls than before. The new vouchers will be valid until 31st March 2021.

    It is funded by The Covid Winter Grant which was received by the Council last year and supports families and children and other vulnerable adults through the winter period to access food, support with utility bills and other essentials to help keep people warm and fed.

  • Article: Feb 10, 2021

    The Conservative government promised £1.5 billion for English homeowners to help pay for improvements which would reduce their carbon footprint. It would provide vouchers worth up to £5,000 or even £10,000 for some improvements.

    The scheme is being administered by ICF an American consulting company. Delays in the scheme mean that by late January only 5% of the grant had been spent. Some people have been waiting months for the result of their grant application. The government has aid they will not roll over the programme into the 2021/22 financial year. This means that well over £1 billion promised for "green" initiatives will not now be used for this purpose. the government had planned on giving 600,000 of these vouchers. As of last month only 21,000 had been distributed.

  • Article: Feb 5, 2021

    Blackburn with Darwen Director Public Health, Dominic Harrison has given the following update:

    "In the week from January 22 to 28, every single Lancashire local authority had registered falling rates of Covid-19.

    The falls over that week ranged from a 19 per cent fall in Blackburn with Darwen to a 44 per cent fall in Hyndburn. This is great news, but rates can go up as well as down. So we must all continue to lockdown, get tested if we have symptoms and self-isolate if positive to keep up the progress.

    Vaccination is going well. We are on track to vaccinate the first four of the nine priority groups by the mid-February target. By January 31, 5,230 Blackburn with Darwen residents over 80 had their first dose. This represents 98.3 per cent of the borough's over-80 population - a very high uptake rate.

    Local authorities and the NHS will work closely together to trace the remaining 1.7 per cent of this target group, to make sure that no one is left behind. .

    Even further good news is that a single dose of AstraZeneca vaccine could cut transmission of Covid-19 by 67 per cent.

    We need further confirmation of this data and we do not yet have the equivalent data for the Pfizer vaccine. If it is fully confirmed, it will mean vaccination offers not just a very high level of protection against hospitalisation and deaths, but also from passing the virus onto others. This has positive implications for how quickly we might be able to exit high levels of Covid controls (Tiers) over the next year. In terms of 'pandemic exit planning', there are now three key critical decision making points.

    On February 22 the government will announce its formal strategy for exiting the current lockdown measures and should announce what 'Tier' arrangements may be in place for the rest of the summer. By early May, if the vaccination programme has progressed without interruption, we should have vaccinated all nine priority groups with both doses of the vaccine. This is estimated to reduce hospitalisations and deaths by 9 to 95 per cent and will have covered about 50 per cent of Lancashire residents.

    Somewhere between September and November we should have vaccinated over 90 per cent of the total population thus achieving the 80 per cent 'herd immunity' figure we need to shut down most of the continued transmission. It could be quicker if vaccination supply improves.

    It is reasonable to expect that at each of those three points, the government will be able to progressively 'open-up' more and more of the economic and social life we have all been missing.

    Covid will still be with us for many years as a winter illness. New variants may push back the speed of some of the 'opening up'. But, if we follow the science, stick to common sense Covid prevention measures, and have high vaccine uptake rates, we will move closer each month to a more normal life.

    It does look like the new normal will be different from the old normal though.

    Exiting the pandemic will not feel like 'the children have permanently emigrated to South America'. It will feel more like they have moved to Yorkshire.

    We may still end up seeing them more often than we anticipated."