Archive for June, 2013

Anti-smoking Merseyside councils urged to quit their habit of investing in tobacco industry (From Wirral Globe)

VOTE: Anti-smoking Merseyside councils urged to quit their habit of investing in tobacco industry (From Wirral Globe).

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Tobacco Pension investment – YouTube

Tobacco Pension investment – YouTube.

The recent BBC Points West item on investments by council pension funds in the West Country is now available on YouTube.

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Gloucestershire County council accused of hypocrisy after investing nearly £11 million in tobacco industry (From Stroud News and Journal)

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MPs told to fight against tobacco investment

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The tobacco industry’s role in smuggling needs scrutiny – Cancer Research UK – Science Update blog

The tobacco industry’s role in smuggling needs scrutiny – Cancer Research UK – Science Update blog.

Excellent post from Cancer Research UK highlighting how the tobacco industry appears to still be driving smuggling by oversupplying to overseas markets:

HMRC’s latest estimate, for 2011, is that the aggregate actual supply … of hand-rolling tobacco to some countries exceeded legitimate demand by 240 per cent. Supply of genuine products to high-risk markets remains higher than HMRC’s analysis of local demand, particularly for certain brands of hand-rolling tobacco, although manufacturers dispute this.

One more reason NOT to invest in tobacco companies.


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Health Minister on LA investments in tobacco

Thanks to Gabriel Scally for spotting Public Health Minister Anna Soubry responding to a question from Simon Hughes MP attacking all parties in local authority control for having tobacco investments in their tobacco fund.

Simon Hughes (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (LD): In my borough of Southwark we have higher than average smoking rates, and the Cabinet member responsible for health has said that hundreds of people are dying early because they smoke. Can Ministers help me to persuade our Labour council that it is inconsistent to say “Don’t smoke” on the one hand and invest £2.6 million of pension funds in British American Tobacco on the other?

TThe Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Anna Soubry): That is a good point, but I have to say that I am not convinced that it is just a Labour-run council that might have chosen to invest their staff pensions in this way; I strongly suspect that all political parties are guilty of this. While this is, of course, a matter for local authorities, it is also the sort of great campaigning work that MPs can do with their local councillors. It is even more important that they do that, given that they now have this great responsibility for public health.

But she says it is, of course. a matter for local authorities.  Personally I think that is not good enough.  The Guidelines to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, to which our Government is committed, specify that local authorities should not invest in tobacco companies.  But in many cases they feel constrained by case law and fear of legal challenge from divesting their tobacco stocks.  Councillor trustees have told me they would love to get out of tobacco, but are advised against by legal and financial experts from doing so.  It is surely time that government acted to ensure that no public sector bodies are permitted to invest in tobacco companies, whether that be local government pension funds or other parts of the public sector. 

The UK commitment to the FCTC should be met in the spirit as well as the legal sense, and that demands compliance with the Guidelines to which we are party.



BBC News – West’s public health authorities invest £44m in tobacco

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