The leader of Bolton Council has said there are many reasons to be optimistic about Bolton's economy in the coming months ahead of the government's road map out of lockdown.

Cllr David Greenhalgh, who leads Bolton Council, said residents still need to work together to keep the coronavirus infection rate coming down to stop us going in and out of lockdown restrictions but that today's announcements mark a "significant step forward".

The government is expected to announce the opening of schools on March 8, with the easing of restrictions around socialising coming after that, with the opening of non-essential retail and hospitality from April and beyond.

Cllr Greenhalgh said: "Today’s announcement marks a significant step forward as we work hard to bring the virus under control and begin to return to normal.

"Together with continued success of our local vaccination programme, there are many reasons to be optimistic about Bolton’s economy in the coming months.

"The most important thing for me is we want sustainable recovery. We do not want to return to a position of going in and out of lockdown restrictions.

"Businesses and residents need confidence that we when we remove restrictions, we will not be re-implementing them the following week.

"This is why the decisions made nationally over the coming weeks are crucial. In the best interests of all of us, we need to work together to get our rates down in order to avoid this.”