A Freedom of Information request to all 32 local authorities in Scotland by Common Weal South Lanarkshire has revealed that Fife Council is one of nine local authorities holding investments in companies linked to the arms trade which includes companies designing, manufacturing or selling arms in the UK and worldwide.

The multi-million pounds investments were either direct investments in the arms industry or indirectly invested through local government pensions schemes to which 470,000 public sector works contribute.

A spokesperson for Common Weal says

“[we] are seeking to encourage local authorities to divest their investments nationally in taking a moral and ethical stance against such investments.

The companies highlighted in our research are providing arms to companies at home and abroad against peoples caught up in conflicts world wide including Palestine and the Yemen. The fact that these investments employ thousands of jobs does not make it somehow acceptable. Trading in arms is fundamentally wrong in securing a peaceful and secure society.”

Common Weal South Lanarkshire have published the results of their FOI responses from all 32 local authorities. We have listed the investments in the arms trade held by Fife Council below.

Investments held in Arms related companies over past 5 years

Investments held in Arms-related
companies over the past 5 years
Financial
returns
How long
investments held
Alstom not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 2 yrs 2 mths
Apple Inc we still hold this stock 19 mths
Avon Rubber PLC not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 5 yrs
BAE Systems PLC gain of £151k 3 yrs 3 mths
BAE Systems PLC not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 5 yrs
Chemring Group not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 5 yrs
Cisco Systems we still hold this stock over 5 yrs
Cobham PLC not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 5 yrs
Finmeccanica not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 12 days
Flir Systems Loss of £364k 3 yrs 5 mths
Flir Systems not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 4 yrs
General Electric not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 9 mths
GKN Holdings PLC not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 1 yr
Hampson Industries PLC not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 1 yr
Honeywell International we still hold this stock 2 yrs 8 mths
International Business Machines Profit of £529k over 5 yrs
Meggitt PLC not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 5 yrs
Mistibushi Heavy Industries we still hold this stock over 5 yrs
Qinetiq Group PLC not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 5 yrs
Rolls-Royce Holdings not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 5 yrs
Rolls-Royce PLC not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 6 mths
Schneider Electric we still hold this stock 4 yrs
Senior PLC not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 5 yrs
Siemans Profit of £771k 4 yrs
Thyssenkrupp Loss of £941k 2 yrs
Ultra Electronics Holdings PLC not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 5 yrs
Umeco Ltd not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 2 yrs
United Technologies we still hold this stock 6 mths
VT Group PLC not available – holding is part of a Pooled Fund 1 yr
Wal-mart Stores Profit of £770k 3 yrs

Gains and Loss over 5 years

Total Gain Total Loss Net gain/loss
£2,221m £1,305m + £916k

Common Weal South Lanarkshire have stated that they “believe no public money, without public consultation, knowledge or consent should be made in arms investments on behalf of the people. We believe this is immoral and irresponsible in seeking to establish a society that seeks to resolve conflict through negotiation and peaceful means. Equally we believe such weapons are being sold and used by countries who continually breach human rights legislation and their legal responsibilities through the United Nations.”

John Young from Common Weal has written to the Fife Labour adminstration leader, councillor David Ross urging Fife Council “to investigate, review and support an investment policy which is transparent, ethically and morally sound and opposes any direct of indirect investments in the arms industry.”

Download full FOI response: sl-common-weal-foi-and-evidence (PDF)

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