Archive for December, 2012

Newcastle to end tobacco investments | News | Local Government Chronicle

Newcastle to end tobacco investments | News | Local Government Chronicle.

Newcastle City Council has pledged to end its pension fund’s investment in tobacco firms, arguing it is incompatible with the council’s new responsibility for public health.

The council’s leader Nick Forbes (Lab) told MPs this week that investing in tobacco companies was “completely inconsistent with a policy on improving health”.

“I’m very clear it can’t continue”, he told the communities and local government select committee.

The committee’s chair, Labour MP Clive Betts, asked all of the local government representatives at the hearing whether they would withdraw investments in tobacco firms – but Newcastle was the only one that said it would do so.

Let’s hope the committee supports Newcastle City Council and makes it clear that the view of the Newcastle leader is the only one compatible with local government leading on public health.

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New South Wales to ban tobacco investments

Health groups breathe easy after tobacco ban | Walcha News.

Once again Australia shows leadership in tobacco control with news that New South Wales is beginning the process to ban public sector investments in the tobacco industry.  Read the story here, then ask your MP why our government still allows local government to invest over £1.6 billion in a lethal consumer product.

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The Courier – Dundee councillors ‘not ready’ to decide on tobacco firm investments

The Courier – Dundee councillors ‘not ready’ to decide on tobacco firm investments.

I look on this story regarding the Tayside pension fund in Scotland as a good news story.  Councillors there clearly want to show a lead in pulling out of tobacco, but quite rightly and properly they are taking legal advice on the matter.  However, it will be important that the advice obtained deals with all the legalities, not just fiduciary duty.  Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is binding on Scottish local government.  The guidelines to that treaty state clearly that no branch of government shall have investments in the tobacco industry.  FCTC commitments is one of the prime reasons that New Zealand and Norway both gave when making the decision to divest from tobacco.  Dundee councillors and their legal advisers could do a lot worse than refer to the papers which led to those decisions in the respective countries (search this blog for New Zealand or Norway to find)

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