A CASH injection of £3.64m has been approved for Oldham’s struggling care homes sector until at least October.

In the week during which Prime Minister Boris Johnson sparked controversy over how homes have dealt with coronavirus, borough councillors have agreed to a major funding package for establishments and carers.

Town hall chiefs say they will be guaranteeing income for care homes - whose occupancy rates have been hit by Covid-19.

And the authority is looking to continue the work of a financial support panel until the end of October.

Around £400,000 has been identified, to pay for commissioned as opposed to actual care, to provide additional support.

Talks had already been underway about a potential 3.5 per cent uplift, in care home fees, before the crisis, and this will now be pegged at five per cent, costing around £2.37m.

The other portion of the funding, totalling an estimated £65,000, covers disabled facilities grants.

Contractors can claim for £30 per job to cover the cost of personal protective equipment and £120 a time for the extra cleaning and sanitising expenditure required.

Announcing the funding, Cllr Dr Zahid Chauhan said: “I wish, if our financial circumstances were better, we could do more and more,”

Council leader Cllr Sean Fielding told an emergency executive meeting that he found the Prime Minister’s comments about care homes “really, really offensive”.

He accused Mr Johnson of trying to “shift the blame for his own government’s incompetence”.

Later Cllr Arooj Shah, the council’s deputy leader and lead Member for Covid-19 recovery, said: “Our carers have been the true heroes of this pandemic. The Government has turned its back on the very people it turned out to clap for every Thursday.

“We are standing up for the people that have put their lives at risk serving others. We have to do whatever it takes to support the industry so that together we can get through this and build back better.”

Councillors have been told that while some of funding for their initiatives will be available through Oldham’s clinical commissioners and government grants, any shortfall must be brought back to the cabinet for further consideration.