New 'rapid' Covid 19 tests on the cards for Burnley and financial help for businesses forced to close is MP's vow
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MP Antony Higginbotham said he had spoken to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock who has confirmed that Burnley and Padiham, as well as the wider Lancashire area, is to be prioritised with new rapid tests that do not need a laboratory.
The tests are due to be rolled out shortly.
Mr Higginbotham said: "This means we will be able to get those who have the virus to isolate faster, containing the disease and it's spread in our borough."
The announcement was made as Burnley, and the county as a whole, was moved into Tier 3, the highest level of restrictions.
The MP added that while a vaccine remains the best 'long term' response to the virus we have to find a way of moving forward without one.
He said: "The best way of doing that is to have a clear way of locating and containing outbreaks once the infection level has come down and the rapid tests will help us to do that."
Mr Higginbotham also said that fiinancial support is available to the pubs and bars that have been forced to close as Burnley, in the form of a grant and they will also be eligible for furlough.
Grants will be based on rateable value and administered by Burnley Council again.
The amount will be: Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of £667 per two weeks of closure (£1,334 per month). Properties with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive grants of £1,000 per two weeks of closure (£2,000 per month). Properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1500 per two weeks of closure (£3,000 per month).
The government will also support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
Mr Higginbotham added that anyone who needed help with their personal circumstances should get in touch with him via his email on [email protected].
He also appealed for anyone who has symptoms of Covid 19 to self isolate and book a test through https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.