Council tax in Southend to rise and free parking after 6pm set to be scrapped

Visitors to Southend seafront will soon have to pay for parking up until 9pm.

Free parking after 6pm is set to be scrapped as part of a plan aimed at helping the council to achieve a £140.3 million balanced budget – in the face of looming cuts in Government funding.

It comes as Southend Council prepares to raise council tax by 3.99 per cent in order to support the rising cost of adult and children’s social care.

If approved the 2022/23 draft budget will see a council tax rise of 1.99 per cent, with an additional 2 per cent precept for adult social care.

This precept and other council investment, including £380,000 for children’s services, will be used to look after the most vulnerable people in the borough.

Ian Gilbert, Labour leader of the council, said: “Setting a balanced budget gets tougher and tougher each year.

“But I am pleased that we have been able to propose a draft budget that focusses on protecting the most vulnerable people in our soon to be city.

“We are seeing more and more people needing our ongoing support, and we will do all we can to provide that help.

“Over 65 per cent of our budget goes into adult and children’s services and it is right that we continue to focus on protecting those areas.

“We also have a draft budget that focus on tackling climate change, investing in our economic recovery and regeneration and the continued drive to improve local areas.”

The proposed rise equates to a 77p increase per week for a Band A home, 89p for Band B, £1.02p a week for a Band C and £1.15 for Band D.

There will be £5.5m invested in adult social care and children’s services will see five new children’s social workers employed and an advanced practitioners scheme set up.

The council will also invest £120,000 to stop the use of glyphosate, a weed killer, in parks and open spaces, and a further £250,000 investment into the community safety team, to provide additional community safety officers and an operations co-ordinator.

The budget also includes a further £10m for the roads and footways programme.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter