Council tax in Pembrokeshire will rise by 3.75 per cent – £43 a year on a band D property – following a vote of full council.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s cabinet had revised its recommendation of a five per cent rise to a 3.75 per cent increase following consultation and scrutiny committee discussions.

On Thursday (March 4) full council voted through budget proposals for 2021-22 which includes a funding gap of £11.9million.

The council tax rise will cost residents in Band D properties £1,189.69 a year, an increase of 82p a week.

Cllr Jamie Adams put forward an amendment to implement a three per cent increase saying the administration had failed to deliver on transformation savings and the need to recognise the position many residents are in due to covid.

He proposed that the “£473,000 shortfall” between the two options be paid for over the course of the medium term financial plan.

This was not carried, with 22 votes in favour, 44 against and one abstention.

The state of social service budgets was highlighted by cabinet member Cllr Tessa Hodgson who called on members to ask “if you really want to put out most vulnerable people at risk.”

She highlighted that the pandemic was not over and there had been an increase to 220 children being ‘looked after’ with the situation likely to “get worse before it gets better.”

This was emphasised by others with Cllr Ken Rowlands saying “social services has had a hammering during the pandemic.”

A number of members highlighted a desire to support the “working poor” and show “empathy” with those that may be struggling but Cllr Jonathan Preston said “what are we giving back, a loaf of bread?” when looking at the difference between the two increases.

But Cllr John Davies said it was not just about this increase but a “25 per cent” increase over the last few years.

He, and Cllr Michael Williams, added that the issue of increasing second home council tax to 100 per cent should have been brought to the table for discussion as well.

Cllr Michelle Bateman said that councillors “sitting here trying to convince people that a lower council tax rise is for their benefit is misleading as it will lead to a reduction in services vital to them.”

There was also a call for reserves to be used, with £2.5million already planned to be used for projects that will “help lower costs in future” rather than prop up services.

After more than two hours of debate the budget and council tax rise of 3.75 per cent was approved 37 votes for, 18 against and two abstentions.