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Council Pension Scheme

Stroud Town Council staff are calling for their pensions not to be invested into fossil fuel industries.

Nine full and part time staff are appealing to the Pensions Committee of Gloucestershire County Council, which oversees the Local Government Pension Scheme for council employees in the county, to look at alternative investments.

In 2018 a change in UK law required pension schemes to take account of environmental and social risks when they make investment decisions on behalf of savers.

"The risks attending climate change are already substantial even in this country, as we have seen from the drought and reduced harvests in East Anglia in 2018, the floods we are now experiencing in most years, and the ever more unpredictable weather patterns across the world with devastating impacts," the employees state in their letter.

"We believe it is vital to avoid harm to our children, grandchildren and descendants. We are also aware that continued use – and therefore production of – fossil fuels is responsible for polluted air so severe in some areas that it is lethal, or prevents asthma sufferers going outside or being physically active."

"The team feel very strongly about this issue. We spend our days at work for the council doing our best to limit the effect of climate change while our money is being invested in an industry which is contributing to the emergency," said Town Clerk Helen Bojaniwska.

A report in March 2019 showed that Gloucestershire's fund was valued at £2.2billion, of which £100m or 4.4% is still invested in fossil fuels.

The employees are asking the county council how much of the Fund is currently invested in fossil fuel companies and what steps are being made to divest that money into more environmentally-sound industries.

Town Councillors unanimously supported the employees' actions and appealed to other Parish and Town Councils in the county to join the campaign.

"We're concerned that staff have been given the unpalatable choice of either investing in fossil fuel with their council pension or opt out of the scheme for a private pension and lose the valuable employer contributions," said Town Mayor Kevin Cranston.

Posted: Tue, 14 Sep 2021 12:17 by Admin team

Tags: Climate Emergency