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.

At the full council meeting on March 7, Deputy Leader Cllr Paul Miller said Cabinet Members had listened to concerns regarding the level of a proposed 16.31% Council Tax rise, and put forward alternative proposals which would limit the rise to 12.5%, which was agreed by a majority of Members.

The changes will be funded primarily by the use of an extra £1.5m of reserves plus £1m of efficiency savings as part of an operational review led by the Chief Executive.

Cllr Alec Cormack, Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance, said: “We are not an administration that ignores concerns, but rather one that listens.

“These proposals are not a silver bullet, the financial challenges the council is facing will not go away.

“What we have done is looked really hard and in further detail at how we might reduce the Council Tax rise - and smooth that rise out across two years - to reduce the impact on our residents, while maintaining our public services as best we can.”

Following dicussions, County councillor for Tenby’s North Ward Cllr Michael Williams said that he feared the reduction would fail to address the huge increase in funding required to adequately fund the massive increase in demands in the social care sector, particularly children's services and education.

“I am very aware of the intense pressures that household budgets are under, but the costs of social care in particular have rocketed in recent years. We will face in all probability a similar or greater budget gap next year,” he remarked.

“The current model of Local Government in Wales is unsustainable and the number of County councils in Wales should be reduced from 22 to 5 authorities.”