Liverpool takes the lead in curbing arms trade investment
Oct 30 2007 by David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post
AUTHORITIES across Merseyside are being encouraged to follow Liverpool’s lead in calling for the area’s largest pension fund to stop investing in arms companies.
Liverpool Council leader Warren Bradley is to write to the leaders of Wirral, Sefton, St Helens, and Knowsley for support in stopping the Merseyside Superannuation Fund from investing in the arms trade.
It comes after Liverpool Council passed a resolution which stated that “investment in the arms trade is not compatible with good corporate, social and ethical governance”
It comes after the Daily Post revealed in the summer that the fund currently has £13.6m linked to investments with firms that are involved in aspects of armaments trade, including BAE, Boeing and Rolls-Royce.
The pension fund, administered by Wirral Council on behalf of all local authorities, manages an investment pot worth around £4bn.
Merseyside Stop the War Coalition, Mark Holt, who campaigned for the Council to adopt this policy, said: “People in Liverpool were appalled to discover that the Merseyside Pension Fund invests in arms companies such as BAE, Rolls-Royce and Boeing.
“Now Liverpool has given a lead to every other council in the country. Now we can hold our head up as next year’s Capital of Culture. We’ve shown that we’re also the Capital of Conscience.”
Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman, Symon Hill, said: “We’re delighted that they have taken such a major step.
“It’s vital that other councils in Merseyside back this proposal and pull Merseyside Pension Fund out of arms companies.
A spokesman for Merseyside Pension Fund, said: “As a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, the Fund seeks to incorporate environmental, social and governance criteria in its investment processes and actively engages with investee companies.
“Consequently, it does not have a formal policy of excluding companies on ethical grounds.
“In the light of the motion, we will be discussing the issues with the Pensions Committee, whose ultimate decision it will be whether the Pension Fund adopts an ethical direction.”