Aylesbury woman defiantly continues climate change council tax protest despite legal threats

“They’re asking me to hand money over that’s destroying the future of the planet”
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A woman from Aylesbury is continuing to refuse to pay her council taxes as part of a climate change protest.

Dr Jane McCarthy has refused to pay her council taxes since April 2022.

Jane, 72, is refusing to support the council in response to the local authority’s partnership with Barclays.

Dr Jane McCarthyDr Jane McCarthy
Dr Jane McCarthy

The Aylesbury resident believes Bucks Council should not support Barclays due to its fossil fuel investment.

In particular, Jane’s concerns relate to Bucks Council’s Pension Fund, which Divest UK calculates has invested £63 million into fossil fuels.

Data from international environmental support organisation, the Rainforest Action Network, found that Barclays is Europe’s largest investor of fossil fuel projects since 2016.

She was summoned to court in March by Bucks Council over refusing to pay the tax. It marked the second time the local authority has been ordered to appear in court over the non-payments.

Last week The Independent revealed that bailiffs had been appointed to recover the money withheld by the Aylesbury pensioner.

The national outlet discovered enforcement company Chandlers had been hired to reclaim the money owed to the council.

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This was of great concern to Jane who is still shielding against Covid. Jane was diagnosed with cancer and has a compromised immune system as a result.

According to Inews, Bucks Council has confirmed enforcement agents will not be visiting Jane’s Aylesbury home.

She told the Independent: “People are really unaware about how much our pension money – whether with councils, or private pensions, or workplace schemes – are contributing to fossil fuel investments, and how much we’re destroying the very future that pensions are supposed to be supporting.

“I feel passionately worried about this beautiful planet and the future for my grandchildren, and all the children on earth. It’s bleak and it’s getting bleaker by the day. The way in which we use our finances is a crucial part of what we can do to make a difference.”

Councillor John Chilver told The Bucks Herald: “Council Tax pays for a range of essential services for the local community and as a local authority, we have a legal duty to collect it.

"Delays in collection or non-recovery of debts leads to high administrative costs and results in lower resources available for vital council services.

"Residents have a legal duty to pay council tax and non-payment or delayed payment is a very serious matter that will ultimately be dealt with by the courts if not resolved.

“Where residents have concerns about the council they should raise this with their local Councillor in the first instance who can raise it on their behalf.

“Buckinghamshire Council is fully committed to addressing the climate crisis and protecting our environment for future generations and has set out its Climate Change and Air Quality Strategy.”

Barclays told the Independent: “We believe that Barclays can make the greatest difference as a bank by working with customers and clients as they transition to a low-carbon business model, focussing on facilitating the finance needed to change business practices and scale new green technologies.

“This includes many oil and gas companies that are critical to the transition, and have committed significant resources and expertise to renewable energy.”