Pembrokeshire County Council should ask local people how money raised from the Cleddau bridge tolls should be spent before they are abolished, Assembly member Joyce Watson has said.

The Labour AM and former Pembrokeshire County councillor made the suggestion after the Welsh Government announced the charge will be scrapped by 2020.

On Tuesday Welsh finance minister Mark Drakeford made his draft budget statement. It includes £2 million to remove the toll on the Cleddau bridge in 2019-20.

Speaking in the Senedd chamber, replying to the minister’s statement, Mrs Watson said: “There is a history about how that money was both raised and how it was spent. So, looking ahead, I welcome the fact that that local tax will be removed—removed from the people who go to and from work, and from the businesses that operate either side of the county.

“I appreciate that time is needed to make transitionary arrangements, but given that the council can budget knowing that maintenance costs will transfer to Welsh Government in two years’ time, given the historic question of how the revenue has been spent over the years, do you think that it might be a good idea, even a gesture of goodwill, if Pembrokeshire council were to ring-fence the toll revenue from now until it’s scrapped and consult ratepayers as to how that money should be spent?”

Pembrokeshire County Council has declined to comment on Mrs Watson's suggestion.

Earlier this week, Council leader David Simpson said of the tolls announcement: “This is indeed good news for users of the Cleddau Bridge and indeed the announcement has been widely welcomed.

“However this has to be tempered by the fact that it does have certain financial implications for the Council and for some of its staff.

“We look forward to working with Welsh Government in order to reach a solution which is of benefit to all parties.”