Council tax will rise by 5 per cent in Pembrokeshire after the budget for 2020/21 was approved by full council today (Thursday).

The draft settlement from Welsh Government has been confirmed and leaves Pembrokeshire County Council better off than predicted.

The increase for Pembrokeshire is 4.9 per cent, or £8.051million when adjusted for transfers into the settlement.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, cabinet member for finance, said that the recomended council tax rise of five per cent - £54.60 a year or £1,146.69 for a Band D property - was the preferred option but recognised the pressure it put on residents.

A funding gap of £5.1million remains to be met by cost savings and efficiencies said Cllr Kilmister and he reminded members that council tax income funded "27 per cent of total service provision."

Councillors questioned the allocation of funds, decided by business case submissions, including £400,000 for a regeneration team which Cllr Di Clements said members had previously been told would not be required.

Following a question from Cllr Paul Rapi about the delay in funding to replace the Cleddau Bridge tolls, the meeting heard that Welsh Government had emailed to state it intended the first instalment to arrive in this financial year.

Assurance was sought regarding proposed reductions to the budgets of schools-based counselling, behaviour outreach and youth offending teams with Cllr Rhys Sinnett being told it referred to restructuring.

Changes made following consultation and scrutiny committees include £1million for road safety schemes, £400,000 over two years for regeneration restructure, an extra £1million to improve teaching and leadership programmes with schools and £500,000 for pot holes and poor road surfaces.

A call for a lower council tax rate from former leader Cllr Jamie Adams provoked anger from Cllr Kilmister who said there had been plenty of opportunity to make any such amendment, calling it "posturing."

Fellow independent group member Cllr John Davies also said he would not support the budget, citing the amount put into reserves in previous years, referring to £8million, which could have been spent on services.

"This budget could have been squeezed a bit more and not gone with five per cent [increase in council tax].

Following a lengthy debate Pembrokeshire County Councillors approved the budget and a rise in council tax of five per cent 32 votes to 19, with one abstention.