War on Want fights government attack on local democracy

22 January 2016 - 1:45pm
Press release

War on Want, together with Campaign Against Arms Trade; Community Reinvest; 350.org; Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Global Justice Now; Conscience; and Platform have launched a campaign to ‘Protect Local Democracy’.

It follows government proposals to block local councils from deciding how to invest their members' pension funds.

Under the new plan, the government will have the power to veto investment decisions made locally on ethical grounds concerning human rights, arms trade, fossil fuels and much else. 

In November 2015, a Conservative Party press release labelled the proposal a response to the “spread of militant divestment campaigns against UK defence and Israeli firms.”

Ryvka Barnard, Senior Militarism and Security Campaigner for War on Want, said:

“The move is a clear attempt to clamp down on the growing power of the grassroots boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement which aims to end government and corporate complicity with Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.  This is the latest in a sustained government assault on democratic rights and freedoms, following the Lobbying Act, Trade Union Bill, Prevent and much else.

“So much for George Osborne’s so-called ‘Devolution Revolution’, this proposal is a cynical attack on local democracy. It has grave implications in the fight for Palestinian human rights.”

The government consultation ends on 19 February.

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