A lower than first suggested council tax rise – 3.75 per cent – is set to go to full council for decision next month.

Following scrutiny and a councillor seminar a lower increase is being recommended, down from an initial five per cent proposal, but there were strong words for those pushing for even lower increases for “political reasons.”

A recommendation to full council on March 4 includes a 3.75 per cent increase in council tax – 82p a week or £43 a year for a band D property – along with the revised draft budget, allowing for an increase local government allocation from Welsh Government.

Cabinet member for finance Cllr Bob Kilmister said on Monday (February 15) “the 3 per cent option is in my opinion financial lunacy, short termism and driven by entirely the wrong motives.”

The increases vary between 46p a week in Band A to £1.92 a week in Band I.

Following discussions over recent weeks there were many councillors pushing for a three per cent increase but Cllr Kilmister has questioned their motives, asking “Are their arguments though based on evidence or what is right for Pembrokeshire in the long term?”

He added: “One group, the Tories appears to be extremely solid in their views and I suspect their lords and masters elsewhere have instructed them what to do as part of an election strategy. The rest of our members share many differing views, which in my view is much more healthy. Our job as cabinet and members is to make evidence based decisions.”

Cllr Michelle Bateman added “it would be madness to go as low as three per cent,” urging people to consider the long term view and the potential to be “setting up a future cabinet to fail” along with increased cuts to services.

“It would be the popular choice to put council tax as low as possible, but it would be the wrong thing to do,” added Cllr Neil Prior.

Bids for growth were about maintaining services, council leader Cllr David Simpson, reminded members, and not new services, with social services under particular pressure from increasing demands.

He added that when he asked an officer what would happen if a requested bid for growth was not received, the answer was “children will die.”

“I do not want to be part of any administration that cuts services when we get a response like that,” said Cllr Simpson, adding criticism to those that “block us and vote for three percent for political reasons.”

He added he felt council should vote for Pembrokeshire, “I don’t believe that party politics should be in that chamber with block votes.”