COUNCIL tax will rise by 3.4 per cent in April, cabinet members have agreed this week.

The increase, which will see those in Band D properties pay around £26 more a year, was approved by members at a meeting at County Hall on Monday (January 13).

The rise compares to a proposed increase of £44 (4.5 per cent) in Carmarthenshire and a £48 (5 per cent) increase in Ceredigion.

Despite the increase, Pembrokeshire will still have the lowest council tax in Wales – with Newport next lowest at £889.

Council Leader, Councillor Jamie Adams, said that when setting council tax for next year cabinet members were mindful of the financial difficulties currently being faced by people in the county.

“As a result we have aimed to keep the increase in council tax as low as possible,” he said.

“It’s been a huge challenge given that we have had to develop the 2014/15 budget against the backdrop of the most difficult financial settlement since the council’s inception in 1996.

“We have to reduce our costs over the next two years by £20 million as a direct consequence of the loss of grant from the Welsh Government,” he said.

The increase was approved at a meeting of cabinet, in which members considered the county council’s budget for 2014/15.

The proposals will see cuts in services of almost £13 million in the next year, although the authority has said schools and social care budgets will be protected.

Cllr Adams warned that the impact on some services would be immediate, but added: “The key challenge will be to protect those services for the most vulnerable in our communities.”