CLACTON Pier bosses have welcomed the launch of a new Government fund aiming at helping towns in need of a helping hand after Brexit.

Billy Ball applauded the pot of £1.6 billion being made available over seven years, provided it is spent in the areas that need it most.

He hoped that Clacton will be in with a chance of benefitting from the initiative.

Mr Ball said the pier had recently received a £50,000 government grant for a feasibility study towards its scheme to bring the Jolly Roger building back into a multi-purpose use in the future.

He said: “The government has backed the project and in doing so acknowledged that it was firstly a worthwhile scheme – but also Clacton was a town in need of an injection of cash.

“Despite the seafront looking healthy again after private and public investment we could certainly do with a boost to see our town grow.

“We have been dealt a blow with the loss of a number of key stores in the town centre such as Marks and Spencer.

Tendring Council is working hard to support and encourage businesses both in and into the area, and extra government funding could certainly be used to supplement that work.

“I would say we are a needy town – and I am sure that a number of ideas could be put forward.”

Mr Ball said that a further grant for the pier to help take its plans for the Jolly Roger to the next stage would certainly be appreciated.

The aim is to regenerate the structure’s oldest building so it can be used for sporting, business and community events, attracting more visitors to the town.

“We will be watching this closely and will be happy to talk with Tendring Council – as I am sure will many other businesses keen to benefit if the chance arises,” he added.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said the money would be “transformative” and was not conditional on support for the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement.

The money, which will be spread over seven financial years to 2025-2026, is a “desperate bribe” to win Labour support for Mrs May’s Brexit deal, shadow chancellor John McDonnell claimed.