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UK councils invest £566m in arms firms linked to Yemen war

Published: January 11, 2019
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Source: theguardian.com

More than half a billion pounds of council workers’ pension money has been directly invested by local authorities in arms companies implicated in Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen, in which thousands of civilians have been killed.

Council pension funds have sizeable shareholdings in BAE Systems, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, according to nearly 100 freedom of information requests.

Between them, 43 pension funds directly hold shares worth £566m in the five companies and earned more than £18.5m in dividends in 2018, a period in which civilian deaths reportedly surged and a punishing famine took hold.

The councils also hold hundreds of millions of pounds in shares in the five companies via pooled investments, which they do not control directly.

The holdings mean thousands of local authority staff will have their retirement payouts part-funded by the companies, some of which manufacture arms linked to incidents in which civilians and children were killed.

The Guardian gathered the data through the freedom of information website WhatDoTheyKnow.com.

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