Petition calls on council to drop Barclays

Tuesday 26th July 2022 7:00 am
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Extinction Rebellion members hand over the petition to councillors Bryan Davies and Keith Hewson ()

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Over 1,300 people have signed an Extinction Rebellion petition, urging Ceredigion County Council to ‘Get our Council Taxes out of Barclays’.

Extinction Rebellion members met with Ceredigion County Council leader Cllr Bryan Davies and Cabinet member for carbon management Cllr Keith Henson, at their Penmorfa offices in Aberaeron, to present the petition, which collected 1,325 signatures.

A spokesperson for the group said: “Barclays has been the worst in Europe for financing fossil fuels for decades and continues to be the worst, with HSBC in second place.

“We need answers urgently. Which bank will the council choose when the present contract ends?”

The group has been collecting signatures outside Aberystwyth and Cardigan’s Barclays branches, 1,150 of which were from Ceredigion and the rest from Powys or further afield.

Vic Bamford, Ceredigion XR member, said: “About 1,150 residents in Ceredigion have added their signatures because they have deep anxieties about climate change and nature loss, and know that financing the extraction of fossil fuels is what’s driving ecological catastrophe.”

The XR members said Cllr Davies “replied very positively” to their petition, with Cllr Henson supporting the petition and confirming they were raising important questions with banks regarding the climate.

In a joint statement, Cllr Davies and Cllr Henson told the Cambrian News: “The number of providers of banking services to the local government sector is very limited.

“The council has a contract with Barclays for the delivery of banking services, which runs until 29 February 2024.

“We acknowledge concerns in relation to the bank’s record on climate change but it should be noted that Barclays has operated local government sector specialism for over 15 years, has good measures in place to counter fraud and was the only bank that expressed an interest in the council’s business last time the contract was procured.

“Once the contract comes to an end, the council will be making sure that the latest Welsh Government advice is followed with respect to taking climate change into account in the procurement for a new contract.

“Therefore we would urge other banks to come forward that can meet the council’s complex business requirements and tender at a competitive rate.”

Susanna Kenyon, a XR member from Cwmrheidol, said: “People know that the finance of fossil fuels is ecocide. ‘This is moral and economic madness’, we have been told by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and the lack of action is seriously distressing people.

“Do we have a future for our children?”

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