City Hall building

Assembly opposes changes to Local Government Pension Scheme

02 March 2016

The London Assembly today agreed a motion to object to proposed changes to the management of the Local Government Pension Scheme. The changes would place restrictions on potential investment decisions.

The motion also calls on the Mayor to ensure that all investments undertaken by the Greater London Authority (GLA) are regularly published and publicly available online.

 

Stephen Knight AM, who proposed the motion said:

It is perfectly possible to securely invest public money without having to turn a blind eye to the horrific human rights abuses that occur in countries such as Saudi Arabia.”

Londoners have every right to know how their money is being invested and for the money to be invested following some ethical principles.”

 

Fiona Twycross AM, who seconded the motion said:

“This government policy would seriously impinge local government efforts to cut carbon and fight climate change. It is retrograde, ill thought through and flies in the face of the government’s supposed own localism agenda.

Had we had these very measures in place, local authorities wouldn’t have been able to use their right to boycott to contribute to the battle against apartheid in South Africa. Now these measures threaten to prevent those same local authorities from taking practical steps to tackle climate change, one of the biggest threats we face today. It’s clearly designed to silence opposition wherever, whenever and however possible, but this Assembly will not be silenced.”

 

The full text of the Motion is:

This Assembly notes the proposed changes set out in the Local Government Pension Scheme: Revoking and replacing the Local Government Pension Scheme (Management and Investment of Funds) Regulations 2009 which specifically proposes to prevent local authorities using their pensions and procurement policies to pursue boycotts disinvestments and sanctions against foreign nations and the UK defence industry.

This Assembly also notes that as of January 2016 the Greater London Authority had invested through its Group Investment Syndicate (GIS) £85 million of taxpayer’s money in the Riyad Bank, a bank which is 49 per cent owned by state bodies and prominently features the three most senior members of the Saudi royal family in its annual reports.

This Assembly objects to the proposed changes to the management to Local Government Pension Scheme to restrict the freedom of elected bodies to take decisions about the appropriateness of certain foreign investments and believes that the predominant concern of a financial return on investments can be combined with policies relating to the appropriateness and ethical concerns of investing in certain countries and regimes, especially when the investments are in state owned or part state owned financial institutions.

The Chair of the London Assembly should write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government expressing the London Assembly’s objections to the restrictions on potential investment decisions that are being proposed.

This Assembly also urges the Mayor to ensure that all investments undertaken by the GLA Group Investment Syndicate are regularly published and available via the website www.london.gov.uk to allow Londoners full access to information about how investment decisions are being made on their behalf.

Notes to editors

  1. The motion was agreed by 11 votes for and 3 against.
  2. Stephen Knight AM who proposed the motion is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  3. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.