Councils across England are to receive around £100m in contingency payments, 'to be used as they see fit to help meet local needs and priorities' and combat the credit crunch.

Local government minister John Healey said 360 councils in England will receive their share of £100m which will be made available within the next few days.

He also announced how it would be divided between the various councils with London boroughs receiving more than £17m.

This extra funding comes from the Local Authority Business Growth Incentives Scheme that has been in operation since 2006, and rewards councils for successfully promoting economic growth in their area.

In his speech to the New Local Government Network last month, prime minister Gordon Brown confirmed that the government would release the last £100m funding through the scheme. Brown said it would help councils respond flexibly to the impact of the downturn on their communities.

Healey said: 'Different parts of the country will be affected by this downturn in different ways and to different degrees - as these pressures are being felt by families and businesses, councils are best placed to provide real help locally, tailored to local needs, to help people to stay in their homes and their jobs.

'So, I am pleased to be able to confirm the share of £100m that councils will get, with no strings attached and extra to the core grant they receive, which will be a real boost to councils' coffers as they provide much-needed support to their communities - particularly in these tough economic times.'

The breakdown of funding to councils is published on the Communities and Local Government website, and can be found at: