Councils forced to invest public money in arms under proposed legislation
Protect local democracy: Speak out against attack on arms trade campaigning.
The UK government is trying to block local authorities from making ethical investment decisions relating to the arms trade.
Currently local authorities can choose to invest their pension funds ethically, and make ethical decisions about what they buy. But the government is trying to take that power away from them.
This is an astonishing attack on local democracy. It's also an explicit attack on arms trade campaigning.
The Conservative Party press release which announced the changes said it was to prevent campaigns "against UK defence companies" and the consultation document says that councils "should not pursue policies which run contrary to UK foreign policy."
But the legislation could have even wider implications, for example, by blocking ethical investment decisions related to other human rights issues or climate change.
The government is consulting on these changes now.
What could these changes mean?
BAE's weapons are currently being used by Saudi Arabia in its devastating attacks on Yemen. Even though there is strong evidence of war crimes being committed, the UK government has refused to cancel arms sales. In fact it licensed an astounding £2.8 billion of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in the first five months of the conflict.
The government's proposed changes could force local authorities to invest their pension funds in companies such as BAE Systems – and to support the government's immoral and possibly illegal policies – even if its members objected.
Use this easy tool to speak out against these change now.
These moves are part of a wider crackdown on democracy and political freedoms. It's vital that we speak out.
That's why CAAT is working with other grassroots organisations concerned about our democratic rights to make investment decisions on ethical grounds in relation to human rights, the arms trade, fossil fuels and other issues of concern.
The government's consultation closes on 19 February. Please act now to help build a strong voice against these proposals
Source: Campaign Against the Arms Trade