MORE council homes, improvements to the roads, and at least 2000 trees are set to come into force in Southend, as the council have agreed their budget.

Southend Council have approved their revenue budget for the next financial year, and the budget will see an extra £5.7m invested into children's and adult social care.

This will include £2.4m to cover some of the additional costs of placing more children into care, £400,000 to attract 16 new foster carers, and nearly £500,000 to support the elderly.

The council also announced that £9.5m will be used to buy more private housing to turn into council homes.

An extra £1m over the next five years will also be spent on further tree planting and their maintenance, and 2,500 new shrubs will be planted across Southend in 2020/21.

Council tax has also been increased by the council, with a rise of two per cent, with a further two per cent for adult social care.

This means a rise of 73p for a Band A home, 82p a week for Band B, 94p for Band C and £1.06 for Band D.

Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council, said: "This is a balanced, ambitious and exciting budget for the residents of Southend-on-Sea that protects and supports the most vulnerable in our borough and delivers for each and every member of our community too.

“This is no mean feat considering continued central Government cuts over the past ten years and with demands on our services ever-increasing.

"As most councils have seen across the county, we have seen a huge increase in the costs associated with looked-after children, and continued pressure on our adult social care budget.

“Whilst one-off boosts and grants are welcomed, they do not help with long-term planning and that is why we have to propose raising council tax to ensure that we can keep providing children’s and adult services, not just for the next financial year, but for the next five years and beyond.

“We are investing in our priorities around the environment, housing, roads, pavements and more, and we want to see a borough where everyone has a safe, decent, affordable home that meets their needs.

"I am therefore very pleased this budget has been approved and we can continue to get on with the job of delivering for local people.”