Southend Council has welcomed news that the Government is offering local authorities a share of £9million to spend on cleaning up their streets.

The funding was announced on Saturday by communities secretary James Brokenshire, who confirmed that the £9.75million would be available to every local authority in England immediately “to back their efforts in cleaning up high streets and town centres”.

The one-off funding which is equal to an average of £23,000 per council can be used on buy tools such as litter pickers, gloves and brushes and provide training for residents on how to remove graffiti or tackle fly-tipping, as well as organise events to encourage more families to get involved.

The extra cash will be an extra boost to Southend’s recently announced plans to spend £100,000 on giving the High Street a “deep clean”.

A spokesperson for Southend Council said: “The recent central government announcement allowing councils a share of £9million to help cleaning high streets up and down the country is something that all local authorities will want to hear.

"High streets nationally are in decline and as such any funding to help boost high streets is positive news.

“We recently announced that we will be spending £100,000 on cleaning the High Street, which has already begun and is already making a difference. We’re always eager to hear about any new funding that can be used to improve the High Street – so, should we be eligible, it will certainly be something that we’ll strongly consider.”

Mr Brokenshire said: “High streets are at the centre of our communities, and as places that are well loved, they sometimes need a bit of a spruce up to look their very best.

“That’s why we will be providing councils with £9.75 million to work with community groups who need that extra money to give their local high street a spring clean, making sure their town centres are really spick and span.”

The announcement has come just weeks after the Government announced a £1.6billion post-Brexit Stronger Towns Fund with the aim of encouraging communities to “restore pride and create new jobs in their area”.

However, this was slammed by 60 Labour council leaders who wrote a letter to the prime minister calling the funding a “drop in the ocean” compared to cuts inflicted on councils.

Funding also welcomed by Basildon

The extra funding has also been welcomed by Basildon Council, which has recently announced they would be permanently funding three street cleaning teams.

Councillor Andrew Schrader, chairman of the Economic Development and Growth Committee, said: "We will be applying for the additional government funding once further details of how to apply and the criteria become available, and will additionally be submitting an application to the Future High Street Fund to support the implementation of the revised Basildon Town Centre Master Plan.

“We are aware of the recent challenges faced by High Streets up and down the country due to changes in consumer behaviour and the over reliance on retail, which is why we’re focusing our efforts on creating new uses for Basildon town centre including leisure, housing and work spaces.

"The redevelopment of East Square to include a ten-screen cinema and six new restaurants will revitalise Basildon town centre by creating an evening economy and making the area a destination of choice.

"Attractive public realm and accessibility will be the two key elements of any funding application as these are the key components to continue attracting investment into the town centre."