An email to the councillors on the ESCC Pension Fund Panel…
Dear Cllrs. Richard Stogdon, Frank Carstairs, David Tutt, Andrew Wealls , Sven Rufus, Brian Redman,
I am emailing you about the East Sussex County Council (ESCC) Pension Fund. After significant time and energy, making several FOI requests and consulting with two academics who work on Pension Funds, I have put together a website on the ESCC Pension Fund. Please feel free to look at it here:
In particular, I would appreciate it if you looked at the page on proposals for change:
I am open to discuss these proposals with any of you.
Also, if you spot any factual errors on the website, please let me know and I would be happy to revise them. I have tried to minimise errors, but mistakes can be made.
Finally, I wanted to draw your attention to a recent exchange between Simon Hughes and Anna Soubry in Parliament:
Simon Hughes (Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Liberal Democrat)
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?
Anna Soubry (Broxtowe, Conservative)
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.
There seems to be an increasing desire for changing the investment practices of Council Pension Funds. I want to make clear that the website I have set up is not just about divestment, but gives many ideas on how the ESCC Pension Fund could change, including what it can positively invest in.
Again, I am happy to talk to any of you in more detail about this.