MONEY spent on street lighting in Southampton has dropped over one year, figures have revealed.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows Southampton City Council (SCC) spent around £5.2 million on street lights in the area in 2019-20.

That was down from 2018-19, when the council spent around £5.2 million, after the figure was adjusted for inflation – a real-terms drop of one per cent over a year.

SCC has said that although there has been a budget saving to the council, it is "not as a result of reduced lighting in the city".

It comes after the killing of Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home from a friend's house in London earlier this month, has prompted a wave of concern about women's safety on the streets.

The Government said it is taking a series of "immediate steps" to improve security, including a doubling of the Safer Streets fund – which provides neighbourhood measures such as better lighting and CCTV – to £45 million.

SCC told the Daily Echo that it will continue to "prioritise" the prevention of, and respond to, violence against women and girls, including "safety improvements to our public spaces".

They added: "The minor decrease in our street lighting budget for 2019/20 can be accounted for via fluctuating annual costs, including changes to energy pricing and the alteration of our streetlight inventory to LED lamps, which cost less to run and are more energy-efficient.

"Therefore, whilst there has been a budget saving to the council, this is not as a result of reduced lighting in the city.

"We have recently been taking specific measures to improve public safety in Southampton in partnership with Hampshire Constabulary."

The measures include additional CCTV cameras in Hoglands and Houndwell Park as well as a number of locations in nearby residential areas, improved lighting in Hoglands Park and the Kingsland subway, refurbishment of the pavilion in Hoglands Park, the nearby unused storage building in Hoglands Park will be demolished to improve lines of sight,