BOLTON has been given more than £600,000 to crack down on landlords who ‘damage neighbourhoods’ and to reduce the strain on services caused by immigration.

The council has received two grants from the Government’s Controlling Migration Fund, it has been announced.

The first, for £258,000, will be used to target rogue landlords responsible for the provision of poor quality housing and associated criminality across the borough.

According to the town hall, the scheme will improve the quality of life of people blighted by issues such as ‘waste nuisance, overcrowding, noise and anti-social behaviour’.

A further £350,000 has also been awarded to improve cohesion between different communities in central Bolton, Breightmet and Tonge.

Communities Minister Lord Bourne said: “This new funding will help councils rise to the challenge of reducing the impact of migration on local communities in a variety of ways — whether that’s tackling the small minority of landlords who damage neighbourhoods with overcrowded properties or providing English language classes to ensure effective integration.”

Earlier this year, Bolton’s leading politicians raised concerns about the strain being put on already-stretched public services, after it was claimed that the town takes a disproportionate number of refugees compared to other local authorities.

The borough welcomed 255 refugees in 2016/17 — 34 per cent of the total that came to the UK under the Gateway Protection Programme.

Bolton Tory leader Cllr David Greenhalgh welcomed this new funding but said that ‘the extent and scale of the issue in Bolton is one that should never have been allowed’.

He added: “All councils should accept responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers and accept their fair share, then such repercussions as waste nuisance, overcrowding, noise, anti-social behaviour and cohesion do not fall on a few authorities, but all councils do not.

Bolton Council volunteered and now takes one of the largest allocations in the country, at the expense of the Bolton council tax payer, and it is an absolute disgrace that Bolton’s Labour ruling group continue to allow this to take place.”

Council leader, Cllr Cliff Morris, said in April that the allocation system for refugees and asylum seekers is ‘unfair and in need of significant reform’, but that it is ‘common decency that we do not turn our backs’ on people in need.