6 February 2007
Green Councillor decides to decline the invitation to join the Camden Council pension scheme and calls for an ethical investment policy for Camden.
Adrian Oliver, Green Councillor for Highgate ward, announced today that he will not be taking up his entitlement to join Camden’s Local Government Pension Scheme because it invests in deadly weapons.
Adrian says, ”As a member of Camden Council I am eligible to join the Local Government Pension Scheme. It is a good scheme and I would like to take up this entitlement and benefit, but will not be doing so.
“The Campaign Against Arms Trade has just highlighted Camden’s investments in many companies making weapons including those making cluster bombs, nuclear warheads, and Halliburton.
“I do not wish to and will not support these companies with my pension contributions. However, two thirds of the pension costs are met by the Council and I am sure many Camden residents will be horrified that their taxes are being used to pay for investments in these companies.
“There were previously two ethically based restrictions on Camden’s pension fund managers, relating to South Africa and tobacco companies. These were recently scraped by councillors on the Pension Sub-Committee, so there is now no ethical check on the overriding goal of maximizing the return, and thereby minimizing the cost to tax payers.
“But this position is not only immoral, but short sighted and unnecessary. Camden is seeking profits from sales of deadly weaponry and then when some of these weapons have been used we end up having to pay far more in housing and social costs meeting the needs of refugees who have been displaced from their war-torn homelands. The same could be said for investments in tobacco and alcohol – the burden borne by taxpayers in relation to the social cost of tobacco and alcohol addition is colossal. Yet, Camden Council’s own pension fund encourages these social costs by investing in companies which profit from death and addition!
“Ethical investments perform well with lower risk and UNISON’s own pension fund has disinvested from arms manufacturers. Camden must follow suit and I will be asking the new Pensions Sub-Committee to reintroduce ethical criteria, including disinvestment from the arms sector.”
Camden Council investments in arms:
London Borough of Camden Pension Fund
Shareholdings provided: All
Shareholdings are in £ and refer to 31 December 2005
UK arms company shareholdings
BAE Systems 0
Rolls Royce 0
VT Group 0
US arms company shareholdings
Lockheed Martin 690,840
Northrop Grumman 412,183
General Dynamics 82,112
Campaign Against Arms Trade
The arms trade is not a normal, legitimate business. It fuels war, undermines development and breeds corruption. CAAT's Clean Investment campaign encourages investors in the world's largest arms-exporting companies to disinvest for ethical reasons.
CAAT’s clean investment campaign was launched in 1991 and has been one of CAAT's most effective campaigns. Many church bodies, charities, universities and health organisations have disinvested from arms producing companies after being lobbied by campaigners.
The 2006 shareholding figures have now been launched for Local Authories, and are available on CAAT’s website: www.caat.org.uk .