Council tax in Pembrokeshire is to rise by less than a mooted 16.3%, to 12.5% - after an 11th-hour alternative budget proposal was narrowly-backed.

It was recommended the council tax rate in Pembrokeshire increased by 16.3 per cent at its March 7 meeting of full council.

The 16.3 per cent rate would have seen the basic council tax level – before town/community precepts and the police precept are included – rise by £219.02 for the average Band D property, taking it to £1,561.98.

Pembrokeshire is currently facing a projected funding gap of £31.9m, partly due to a lower-than-expected Provisional Local Government Settlement.

That figure has increased from £27.1m in December, and £28.4m in January, when it was described as “by far the highest funding gap in our history,” by Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance Cllr Alec Cormack.

At the March 7 meeting there was a call by deputy leader Cllr Paul Miller for an eleventh-hour change to the budget.

He proposed a 12.5 per cent increase, partly using additional reserves of £1.5m, as well as £1m target for council efficiency savings.

Cllr Miller said that would see a weekly council tax increase for the average property of £3.22, or £167.86 a year.

Members backed Cllr Miller’s amendment, by 30 votes to 26, with one abstention.

The final council tax bill for residents would be higher than this as town and community council precepts and the police precept would be added; with second home-owners and empty property owners facing even higher bills as both have a premium rate.

The premium rate on second homes for the next financial year is 200 per cent, effectively a treble rate, with a more complicated approach on empty properties of 100 per cent after 24 months, 200 per cent after 36 months, and 300 per cent after five years.

The 12.5 per cent rise comes on top of previous increases of 12.5 per cent, 9.92 per cent, five per cent, 3.75 per cent, five per cent and 7.5 per cent.

The county had faced the possibility of even higher increases, of 18.94 per cent, and an eye-watering 20.98 per cent, before Cabinet members backed the 16.3 per cent rate proposal last month.

Neighbouring Ceredigion backed a council tax increase of 11.1 per cent on February 29.