David Cameron visited Eastbourne this morning after announcing his government would give a £2 million helping hand to the town after the pier fire. 

The cash, from the Coastal Communities Fund, will be used to help the town "get back on its feet" after Wednesday's blaze. 

Mr Cameron said exactly how the cash will be used would be up to the local authority. 

Speaking to The Argus he said: "These are hard working people who have seen their businesses taken away on the pier.

"We've given £2 million to Eastbourne council and said they can use that money in a way they think is best and to help the people of this town who may be suffering after this terrible incident.

"In particular we are talking about the traders. The money is there to be used how they think best, whether in a hardship fund or making alternative facilities available for businesses to trade from or promoting the town as a tourist destination. It is up to the council. I believe in localism and I want to give the Eastbourne people the decision."

The Prime Minister praised the action of the fire service in bringing the fire under control swiftly.

When asked about government fire cuts, specifically East Sussex Fire and Rescue's task of finding more than £7 million over the next five years, Mr Cameron said: "I asked the firefighters what lessons there were to learn from this fire and they said they were able to get the number of fire engines they required on time at the site. They did a brilliant job in saving as much of the pier as they did.

"I was also impressed to hear about the mutual support arrangements with West Sussex and Kent. They worked well.

"But of course all public services have had to make difficult, long term decisions on how they can be more effective and efficient.

"They demonstrated with this fire they were capable of doing the job they were asked to do."

Resident Michael Allen, 43, said he was "surprised at the government's generosity".

He said: "You don't expect that, especially when they are making cuts all over the place. If it helps get the pier open as soon as possible and the locals back on their feet then you can't knock the government."