Pembrokeshire councillors consider cuts and charges

The local authority has to make savings of £20m over the next two years

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Pembrokeshire councillors are to consider a range of controversial issues including charging for social services and increasing car park fees.

Some public toilets could close as the council looks at the impact of budget cuts from next year.

Meanwhile the futures of St David's Secondary School and a Narberth care home will also be discussed.

Councils across Wales are debating savings after cuts in the Welsh government's draft budget.

Local government spending across Wales will fall from £4.648bn this year to £4.466bn next year, a cash cut of 3.9%, or 5.8% once inflation is taken into account.

'Belt-tightening'

Pembrokeshire council leader Jamie Adams has already said the authority is not immune from the cuts but wants to protect frontline services and the vulnerable.

"We have a part to play in the belt-tightening process during these straitened times," he said.

Car park charges will be discussed, following a warning that the council "faces severe budgetary pressures".

It recommends increases in car park charges, and raises the possibility of introducing charges for car parks that are currently free to use.

The closure of some public toilets will be discussed.

Toilets sign Some public toilets could close while others would have charges introduced

There is also a recommendation "where practicable" to introduce a 20p charge for using public toilets as well as considering taking them out of council control.

A consultation on proposals to review charges for non-residential social services is also recommended.

Councillors at Monday's cabinet meeting will also be asked to consult on the future of Sunnybank Residential Home in Narberth which has 10 residents.

The home was built in the 1960s and the council estimates modernisation would cost about £2.6m.

The authority has reduced the number of residential homes it manages, opting instead for "community based alternatives".

The meeting also includes a review of education provision in the St David's area, with consultation which could lead to the closure of Ysgol Dewi Sant.

A report says its condition is poor despite upgrades in recent years.

It adds that schools inspectorate Estyn judged the school "in need of significant improvement" in a recent report and "surplus places are expected to reach 31% by 2018".

Councils across Wales are considering cuts and changes to services following the Welsh government's draft budget.

Finance Minister Jane Hutt said councils knew tougher times were on the way and she had been cushioning them for three years.

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