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.”