Lincolnshire Attacked Over Investments

Posted 9th January 2019 by Dave Cross
Lincolnshire County Council has come under attack over revelations that it has ploughed more than £45 million into tobacco company stocks and shares. The money constitutes part of its investment plan for the council’s pension fund, but lies at odds with its work to reduce the rates of smoking in the county.

Lincolnshire County Council’s pension committee meets on Thursday, and show a massive investment in Big Tobacco in figures published prior to the event. The total pension pot runs to £2.3 billion, so £45 million constitutes a small part but still appears to be odd considering the increasingly restricted efforts to reduce smoking. The county now outsources its anti-smoking efforts to Quit 51, a service that also operates in Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent and Surrey.

Lincolnshire invest as follows:

  • British American Tobacco - £24,100,000
  • Phillip Morris – £11,147,705
  • Imperial Brands – £4,557,627
  • Altria Group – £5,543,507
  • Japan Tobacco – £411,943

The council states: “(We have) a legal duty to achieve the best rate of return for the 75,000 pension fund members and ensure its long-term future. For this reason, it maintains a wide and varied portfolio, all of which is managed externally. The fund managers seek strong, sustainable companies with good all-round credentials.”

Currently, there are 106,000 smokers in Lincolnshire. Of those, just 5,207 accessed the Quit 51 service during the course of 2017/18.

The council justifies its current approach because, “there will be many more people who have quit or cut down using support from pharmacies, GPs and other services.”

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker