Climate change referendum for Warwick disctrict is cancelled due to social distancing rules

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A DECISION has been made to cancel the proposed climate levy on households’ council tax bills across the Warwick district amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Warwick District Council had planned to meet on 25 March to consider a proposal to cancel the planned referendum to ask households to increase their council tax contribution to fund a Climate Action Fund.

However, given the rules on social distancing, this meeting or the referendum were not possible to hold.

A shared statement was made following the announcement by Councillor George Illingworth (Chairman), Councillor Andrew Day (Leader of the Council & Conservative Group), Councillor Boad (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group), Councillor Davison (Leader of the Green Group), Councillor Nicholls (Leader of the Labour Group) and Councillor Heath (Leader of Whitnash Residents Association).

The statement said: “Had this meeting taken place, councillors would have voted on a recommendation to withdraw their proposal for excessive council tax in Warwick District, to create a ring-fenced fund to tackle climate change.

“However this meeting will not now be possible and neither will the referendum due to the current restrictions in place.

“As the referendum cannot take place, by law, the Council will revert to the lower Council tax increase of £5 a year for a band D property.

“This lower increase was approved by Council in February 2020 to cover the core Council services but by law cannot take effect until after the date the referendum was scheduled.

“This means that your April and May instalments will be paid at the higher rate you have already been billed for, which equates to an over-payment of around £10.

“Any overpayment will be automatically incorporated into your next bill, and reduced on that basis.

“Councillors regret that this approach has to be taken, but they have to act lawfully and respect the challenges faced by the nation at the moment.

“Whilst dealing with coronavirus is the main priority, Councillors are unanimous in their ambition to combat the effects of Climate Change and continue to support action that needs to be taken, as set out in their Action Programme.

“They will consider the financing required to tackle it in their 2020/21 budget review.”