Aylesbury woman refuses to pay council tax in climate protest
A 72-year-old woman said she is refusing to pay council tax as a form of climate protest. Dr Jane McCarthy wants Buckinghamshire County Council to stop banking with Barclays due to its support of fossil fuels and switch its pension fund to low-carbon investments. Barclays said it is working to help oil and gas clients "transition to a low-carbon business model". Buckinghamshire Council said not paying council tax "is a very serious matter". Dr McCarthy, from Aylesbury, said she stopped paying council tax in April 2022 to raise awareness "about the importance of how we use our money" environmentally. She said that public money is being used "to help destroy our future" through banking and pension investments. According to the Rainforest Action Network , Barclays has financed fossil fuels to the sum of $190.5bn (150.1bn), more than any other UK bank since 2016. Barclays said: "As one of the first banks to set an ambition to become net zero by 2050, we are clear that addressing climate change is an urgent and complex challenge. "We are using our entire franchise to support new green technologies and infrastructure projects," it said. The bank added, it had provided more than 87bn of green finance since 2018. Dr McCarthy said she is part of a public campaign that previously launched a petition to Buckinghamshire Council and is not using her protest as a way to avoid paying council tax. "I have the money. I absolutely want to pay it because I know it's important but there is also a bigger harm here," she told BBC Three Counties Radio. She said she was taken to magistrates' court "for liability hearings" but as a cancer patient, she is not sure about the prospect of facing a prison sentence. "I wouldn't want to commit myself either way at this point. I'm certainly prepared to go to court over it," she said. John Chilver, Buckinghamshire Council's Cabinet Member for Resources, said: "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." He added that non-payment or delayed payment is "a very serious matter" that would lead to court action "if not resolved". Mr Chilver told the BBC the council's banking contract with Barclays was procured "using central government's selection questionnaire, which at the time did not include zero carbon selection questions." Follow East of England news on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter . Got a story? Email email@example.com or WhatsApp 0800 169 1830 Celebrities urge banks to stop financing fossil fuels Big banks fund new oil despite net zero pledges Barclays branch defaced in climate change protest Stars call on Wimbledon to end Barclays sponsorship HSBC to end funding for new oil and gas fields Fossil fuel production set to soar in next decade How well do you know Hertfordshire's celebrities? Find out by taking part in our quiz Special recruits: Herts police welcomes five new Special Constables Enjoying the golden hour at Corona Sunsets Festival UK in Hatfield Park What should police prioritise in Welwyn Hatfield? Bucks Free Press Camera Club: Beautiful Birds in the county 'It was very, very scary': Bucks man trapped in Marrakesh during earthquake Morocco rescuers dig with bare hands as foreign aid sent US denies Cold War with China in historic Vietnam visit How Russia and West agreed on Ukraine G20 language How Russia and West agreed on Ukraine G20 language US denies Cold War with China in historic Vietnam visit 'Everyone in this village is either dead or missing' A Serbian scientist's long quest to name Srebrenica's dead How chronic pain feels for me. Video How chronic pain feels for me Guyana scrambles to make the most of oil wealth The spongy creatures cleaning Zanzibar's oceans. Video The spongy creatures cleaning Zanzibar's oceans Inside a 'hijacked' South African building. Video Inside a 'hijacked' South African building The rise and fall of a parenting influencer Florida's first hurricane-proof town The greatest spy novel ever written? Why is everyone crazy about Aperol? 2023 BBC.