Warwick District Council to decide on tax hike to fight climate change - The Leamington Observer

Warwick District Council to decide on tax hike to fight climate change

Leamington Editorial 26th Feb, 2020   0

A VOTE will be held at Warwick District Council this evening on plans for a local referendum to decide on a tax hike for a ‘climate action fund’.

If plans for a referendum are approved, residents will vote in May on whether to accept a 30 per cent rise on the district council’s current precept.

The hike would be introduced this April, but if rejected by residents at the subsequent referendum, households would get the cash back.

The increase would mean residents in an average Band D property would face an increase of £1 per week. The funds which will be ring fenced would generate around £3million a year.

The move – a national first – forms part of a cross party ‘Climate Emergency Action Programme’ with the aim of seeing the district council become carbon neutral by 2025 and the entire district carbon neutral by 2030.

Conservative council leader Andrew Day told the Observer: “We hope people will get behind this. I was in Australia over Christmas where the bush fires were, that is a very real example of climate change. Here we will see it differently through a lot more rain and storms so we need to be prepared for that so people can carry on going about their lives.

“We want to make positive changes like introducing electric taxis, making all of our waste vehicles electric and insulating homes of those on lower incomes as just a few examples.

“We are the first council to propose a Climate Action Fund and we have a real chance to set the pace for the future of climate change action and look after our district.”

The proposal received a mixed response from residents on our social media pages with some sceptical about how much impact the move would have and others concerned about paying more in council tax.

Those backing the backing the move include climate campaigner Dominic Harrison.

He said: “I understand that these funds raised will be ring-fenced and audited, and that once raised will allow far more match-giving funds to follow. I believe the average increase of £1 per week, if we are to secure a future for us, our children and our natural world, is worth it. We all have a part to play in this fight against climate change and I hope we can all support it.”

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