BOLTON council has been given almost £500,000 to boost its efforts to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping next year.

Its leader Cllr David Greenhalgh said the government cash was 'hugely welcome' especially as it could be tailored to the borough's needs.

The government has allocated £13.8million to local authorities in the North-West for 2020/21 to help their efforts to provide roofs over the heads of those living on the streets.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared ending rough sleeping to be a priority of the government.

The money comes in two grants: the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant (FSGH) which supports to those at risk of homelessness; and the Homelessness Reduction Grant (HRG) to help homeless households into accommodation.

Bolton Council has been given £279,770 in FHSG and£184,352 in HRG giving a total of £464,122.

Neighbouring Bury has been granted £251,957 and £94,764 adding up to £346,721.

Manchester received £2,562,261 - £2,101,431 in FHSG and £462,120 in HRG while the figures for Salford are £474,467 and £183,193 adding up to £657,760.

Cllr Greenhalgh said: "This grant money is hugely welcome.

"We have a growing problem in Bolton caused by a variety of issues from addiction to family breakdown and mental health.

"The council can use this money to tackle the differing issues of homelessness and rough sleeping.

"It is particularly useful as the council has the ability to use these grants to tackle local issues and develop our own strategies to deal with Bolton's specific problems.

"We will now start working up our pans to use he money so it has the greatest effect.

"It is good that local authorities have the freedom from the government to do that."

The government has also confirmed the Cold Weather Fund will receive an additional £3 million, taking the total to £13 million nationwide to enhance support available for rough sleepers during the winter.

Mr Johnson said: “It cannot be right in the 21st century that people are homeless or having to sleep on our streets, and this Government will work tirelessly to bring this to an end.

“This new funding is going to help councils provide better support to homeless people, and importantly, prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place."

Homelessness Minister Luke Hall said: “It is not right that there are people in the North-West who do not have a safe and secure place to live – some having to rely on the goodwill of friends for a roof over their head or, at worst, face a night on the streets. This funding will give the North West’s local authorities the freedom to provide the services which work for local people and tackle the often complex issues which lead to homelessness and need specialist support."