A £1 billion budget - including more cash for fixing our crumbling roads, protecting vulnerable children, providing extra school places and tackling homelessness - has been agreed in what has been described as a "new era" for Bucks.

History was made this week as the new unitary council, Buckinghamshire Council, had its first ever budget given the green light ahead of its creation in April.

The detailed spending plans mark the start of an exciting new future for residents, businesses and local communities right across Buckinghamshire said Shadow Executive Leader, Martin Tett.

There is more cash for key areas like maintaining roads and pavements, protecting vulnerable children, adults and older people, tackling homelessness, recruiting more social workers and delivering more "local priority schemes".

There is also £5 million for the new council’s priority to tackle climate change.

More than £500 million will go towards improving Aylesbury and High Wycombe town centres, resurface more roads, clear blocked drains, provide extra school places and deliver more affordable housing.

Residents across Bucks will have to pay for council tax to fund this though - with a "cost of living" rise of 1.99 per cent planned.

An extra two per cent increase will be used exclusively to pay for the growing demand for adult social care and looking after the elderly.

Council tax will also be "harmonised" across all the four district council areas in the county - so everyone will be paying the same amount for the same services.

"It's the start of a brand new era," said Cllr Tett.

"We’ve been working together across all five councils, as one team, to create a new council that brings together the very best from the past, but which is also strongly focused on the future. This will serve residents better and provide stronger representation for Buckinghamshire nationally.

"Of course, these remain extremely difficult times for local councils and tough decisions still lie ahead, but I believe these plans provide us with the best possible start. Extensive public consultation and rigorous scrutiny have also really helped to make sure every single pound is spent where it's needed most.

"Inflation and rapidly rising demand for services, particularly looking after the elderly and protecting children from exploitation, have meant a rise in council tax. Increasing council tax is never something we take lightly, but it is morally right to look after our most vulnerable and I hope people will understand what a crucial difference this will make to them."

"This budget also looks to the longer term, particularly in areas like roads and pavements, which have taken another battering from the rain and recent heavy storms. My aim is to invest over £100m over the next five years on restoring these and this budget gives us a flying start.”

Martin added, “We’ll continue to look for additional funding sources. For example, the Council still awaits the outcome of a £180 million bid to the government's ‘Housing Infrastructure Fund’ for investment in the Aylesbury Garden Town project to improve roads, local green spaces and walking and cycling routes.

“Lastly, one of my personal passions is that the new council must work better for people locally. Therefore, we are introducing 17 new Council Access Points where residents can obtain information on services; five Local Planning Committees to make decisions more locally and 16 new Community Boards bringing people together to tackle local issues with a combined investment of over £5 million."

The budget was approved by councillors on the shadow executive - but the plans will now go forward to the full shadow authority meeting on February 27 for a final decision.