HOUSEHOLDS in Warwick district will receive a revised Council Tax bill this month following the cancellation of the planned climate fund referendum due to the pandemic.
In February councillors from all political parties unanimously approved a Council Tax increase of £57 for the year – based on a band D property – a move which made it a legal requirement to call a referendum.
The increase comprised £52 for a ring-fenced ‘climate action fund’ plus an average £5 per annum rise – also based on a band D property – for the council’s other core service services which include housing, refuse and recycling, street cleaning, parks and open spaces.
Had residents voted in favour of the move, the Climate Action Fund would have generated around £3million a year. The pot would be used to help make homes and businesses more energy efficient, improve air quality, and enhance green spaces.
But the May 7 refrendum had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic
A legal ‘quirk’ from central government meant all Council Tax demands issued by the authority in March 2020 had to include the ‘climate action fund’ increase.
Now following confirmation the referendum will be deferred, the council has reset its charges from a 34 per cent hike to three per cent, meaning for the financial year starting in April 2020 a band D household will pay Warwick District Council £171.86 a year in Council Tax – compared to £166.86 last year.
All bills have now been revised and will be reissued in the next few days, by post or online.
Council leader Andrew Day said: “Never before has the funding we receive through Council Tax been so important, enabling us to provide support to the vulnerable and local businesses whilst continuing essential frontline services during this national crisis.
“Although our response to the coronavirus pandemic remains our top priority, the climate emergency is still with us and the lessons learned and behaviour changes made during this time will be very much in our thinking as we move our district towards a brighter, cleaner and healthier future.”