Watford will receive nearly £100,000 of a government ‘Welcome Back Fund’ to kickstart the return to high streets as lockdown restrictions ease.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the package will help boost local economies and businesses, and give people reassurance to shop and socialise safely.

The funding can be used to bring more outdoor seating, markets or food stall pop-ups, and to also improve green spaces and planting.

Councils may also install more social distancing signs, use the funding to remove graffiti, or to run publicity campaigns and prepare for local events.

Watford Borough Council will receive £85,636 of the total £56million fund being issued out to councils nationwide.

Elsewhere, Three Rivers has been granted £82,174, Hertsmere with £92,495 and Dacorum receiving £137,473.

It is currently unclear on where Watford and other local councils will focus most of the funding on.

Over the summer, pubs and restaurants will also be granted with more flexibility to set up marquees and outdoor spaces.

Mr Jenrick said: “As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.

“Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.

“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.

“I’m allowing every pub in the country to erect a marquee in their garden for the whole summer as a one-off power to support our locals.”