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Pensions: Local Government

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 11th June 2019.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on encouraging local government pensions funds to divest from carbon-intensive industries and fossil fuels.

Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The DWP has regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. However, much like with trustees of occupational pension schemes, the local pension committees of the individual Local Government Pension Funds are responsible for their own investment decisions.

As I said during the Westminster Hall debate regarding Pension Funds: Financial and Ethical Investments on the 22 May 2019:

“For too long there has been a perception by too many trustees -I am happy to clarify this as a Government Minister- that the environmental practices of the firms they invest in are purely ethical concerns, which they do not need to worry about: that is utterly wrong. Aside from the ethical considerations, there are real financial risks resulting from climate change. With the long-term horizons of pension investing, trustees must now consider that when they set out their investment strategies. Trustees who do not consider those matters will be breaching their statutory and potentially their fiduciary duties not only to current but future members.”

The full debate can be viewed here:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2019-05-22/debates/D3194408-7581-4635-AEDC-6D22AD6F0EBC/PensionFundsFinancialAndEthicalInvestments

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