Bucks resident starts Council Tax protest on environmental grounds

A Bucks resident has launched a Council Tax protest on environmental grounds due to the local authority’s partnership with Barclays.

By James Lowson
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 4:54 pm
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 10:33 am

Jenny Cooper who lives in Chesham, has written letters to the council demanding an explanation regarding the authority’s contract with the major bank.

She is a member of a protest group called, Bucks Council Action, which has been endorsed by other activist organisations such as HS2 Rebellion and Just Stop Oil.

Jenny’s issue with the deal relates to Barclays investment in fossil fuel projects.

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Market Force revealed last year, that the bank had invested more in fossil fuels than other large UK-based banks.

Findings showed that the international company had spent an estimated £4.1 billion on projects producing crude oil emissions in 2021.

Environmentalists who contacted the council have accused the authority of “fobbing off” local residents.

The council’s Pension Fund with Barclays is valued at £63 million.

Jenny says she has no choice but to cancel her direct debits and withhold council tax bill payments.

Alongside the campaign a petition which can be accessed here has received 800 signatures.

The campaign reveals that five councils in the UK have already committed to completely divesting from companies that fund fossil fuel projects.

Jenny said: “This is not a path any of us have chosen to take lightly. We understand the urgent need for Council Tax funds which provide adult social care and other vital services in our area.

"However, we cannot, within our consciences, allow our money to be spent on these services if, in the process, that same money is being invested in new oil fields and, in addition, weapons, that are and will be causing the deaths of millions of others both now and in the future. It is on these grounds of conscience that funds may be withheld.”

The tax strike is just one part of a wider campaign against the council, activists confirmed.

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.”

A further website has been set up by environmentalists criticising the Barclays deal which can be accessed here.

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