Tag Archives: Gloucestershire County Council

Politicians respond to Gloucestershire County Council’s deadly investments…

Yesterday Hynd’s Blog covered the story that Gloucestershire County Council was investing over £12 million in tobacco firms despite Gloucester having the highest rate of lung cancers in the country.

The story evoked some reactions from local politicians.

Labour County Councillor Brian Oosthuysen was the first to respond and said through facebook:

“Steve, Brian here. I will raise it immediately. Shocking”

The Green Party’s Stroud District Councillor, Phillip Booth, responded by highlighting the GreenParty’s longstanding opposition to the council investing in tobacco:

Phillip highlighted this 2010 article in which The Green Party’s County Councillor, Sarah Lunnon makes the wider point around ethical investment.

The Cheltenham Liberal Democrats also tweeted the story out and their local branch secretary, Mel Gladwin responded saying:

Against this back drop, Stroud’s Conservative MP Neil Carmichael’s response is noteworthy for bucking the trend.

DM with Neil

I am yet to receive a response from him (although to be fair he hasn’t had much time) but nor do I expect to receive one.

Few Conservatives would follow Neil’s ‘profit at any cost’ logic – I’m not even sure Neil would if you pushed him. For example, I don’t believe many Conservatives would back investment into small arms. Why? Because quite rightly they would say that it is a product that when used exactly like the manufacture intended, kills people.

The obvious parallel here can be made with cigarettes. When a consumer uses the product exactly as the manufacture intends, the product kills.

As the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention rather aptly puts it, “More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.”

Why then, in this Conservative mindset, is it OK to invest in Tobacco but not guns?

So the question for Neil Carmichael, Gloucestershire County Council and anyone else that backs such deadly investments is: Assuming you agree that there should be some ethical guidelines to investment, what criteria do you think GCC should use that still includes tobacco, a product that is responsible for the death of 6 million people every year?

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Filed under Gloucestershire, Health, Politics

Gloucestershire County Council invested £12.2 million in tobacco companies

The BBC has today revealed that Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) has invested at least £12.2 million in tobacco firms through its pension’s scheme.

Back in 2011 when this issue was raised by The Guardian, Jo Walker, Gloucestershire County Council’s director of finance, hinted at a rethink saying, “We are currently talking to other councils about the approach local government takes to investing in pension funds.”

Today the BBC reported that GCC has repeated that it “had a responsibility to ensure it invested in companies which provided the best value for taxpayers and pensioners’ money.”

Quite literally this is our local council putting profit before human life. Each year tobacco is responsible for the death of 6 million people and is one of the leading causes of preventable diseases.

GCC however sees no problem in investing heavily in tobacco firms despite Gloucester being dubbed the “Cancer Capital of UK”. Specifically, Gloucester has more diagnoses and resulting deaths from lung cancer than anywhere else in the country.

If you live in Gloucestershire and want to raise this with your local councilor you can find their contact details  – here.

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Filed under Gloucestershire, Health