The news that £5 million in unclaimed Covid-19 business support was returned to the Government by Barrow Council prompted debate over the criteria for grants.

The figure had angered the Conservative candidate for the Roosecote by-election, Jay Zaccarini, but one reader claimed the criteria for Covid-19 business support was too exclusive.

They said: “The reason Jay Zaccarini that money was returned by the council was due to the ridiculous criteria set by your Tory government.

“The criteria set excluded many businesses from applying and many that did apply were turned down when council officers had to explain to them that they did not qualify as they didn’t match the criteria set by the Tory government in order to receive the grants.

“Oh and don’t get me started on the three million in this country that the Tory government totally excluded from receiving any support at all."

However, one reader believes the council should have offered more support to businesses.

They said: “I was fortunate to get some of the discretionary funding, maybe the council could have been a bit more understanding dishing that out.

“Either way more could have been done to help the three million and more could have been done by Barrow Council to help struggling businesses with discretionary grants. Hats off to the council staff for what they have done, hasn’t been easy for anyone but there’s learning for everyone from this.”