Council to vote on ending tobacco investments

Councillors in Southwark will be asked to vote on the borough's controversial investments in tobacco firms when the matter comes to Council Assembly tomorrow (Wed 27 Nov). 

councillor-david-noakes.pngIn June this year, local Liberal Democrats uncovered millions of pounds being put into tobacco firms through the council's staff pension fund - despite the council running 'stop smoking' campaigns aimed at residents and staff.

It led to a string of bad publicity for the council, which initially denied it was a problem and said its main priority was making money. But after news that the council was also investing in the arms trade, the Labour council leader announced earlier this month that staff will be asked whether they want their pension money to be invested more ethically.

Now Liberal Democrat councillor David Noakes, who led the campaign to stop the investments in tobacco, has put forward a motion for tomorrow's council meeting calling for councillors to put on record their opposition to the investments. The motion also asks the council's leadership to commit to putting in place a new ethical investment policy by the end of March next year.

If voted through, it will mark another success in the campaign to end the investments in tobacco firms by Southwark Council and will ensure an new investment policy is in place ready for the 2014/15 financial year.

Southwark Liberal Democrats have said they would remove the investment and put it into new homes instead.


Commenting, Southwark Liberal Democrat's Shadow Cabinet member for health and adult social care, Cllr David Noakes, said:

"It is good news that Southwark Council is finally taking steps to review its investments in tobacco and weapons manufacturers after several months of campaigning by the Liberal Democrats, but this needs to be done sooner rather than later."

"I am pleased progress has been made on this issue, and I hope that my proposal to council assembly will be backed by all sides."

"We cannot be encouraging resident's to give up smoking on one hand, while investing in a tobacco company on the other, particularly now the council has been given responsibility for public health."

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