Cuts – including job losses – are still to be decided as a more favourable budget settlement is welcomed by senior councillors in Pembrokeshire.

Cabinet member for finance Cllr Bob Kilmister said last week that working on a budget for 2020-21 initially left him concerned about what could be cut further.

However the increased settlement from Welsh government will go some way towards improving the situation.

It is to be combined with another increase in council tax – this year a potential five per cent rise or £54 a year for a band D property – but does  not mean “it’s the end of austerity,” warned Cllr Kilmister.

With council services presenting business cases for increases to budgets there are already a number of areas identified for more money, including many suggested by members of the public in past consultations.

Discussions about cuts and the potential loss of 66 jobs continue with cabinet and the corporate management team.

The consultation process for this year’s budget continues until January 27 and Cllr Kilmister is encouraging people to have their say.

Funding has been identified for schools, social care, road safety, potholes, fly tipping, public toilets and homelessness provision, as well as other areas.

“The big difference is we have real choice available to us. The last two budgets have been about reducing expenditure, cutting services -removing services in some cases – after spending the last eight to ten years reducing expenditure across the council,” he said.

Savings of around £6million have to be made, compared to a £21million spending gap last year.

A Facebook live event last week was said to have been successful – views on Friday (January 10) were at 6,500 – with another planned for January 20, 7pm,  along with a public meeting on January 22, 2pm, at County Hall.

Cllr Kilmister said there was a wide variety of questions asked from reserves, legal fees, playgrounds and ALN provision, adding it was “less intense” than the previous five events he’d done and the “Porsche didn’t come up for the very first time” – referring of course to former chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones’ infamous work car.

“We’d like people to go online or use paper copies and confirm we are spending the extra funds in the areas they would like us to do,” he added.

The need for a national solution for adult care pressures was highlighted with a hope that the new government’s budget in March will provide some recognition of the problems faced by all authorities.