‘Arrogant, anti-democratic’ government ignores results of its own consultation

27 September 2016 - 5:00pm
Press release

The government today released its response to a consultation on proposals to block local councils in England and Wales from deciding how to invest their pension funds. 

The details come days after the Department for Communities and Local Government announced new guidance giving Whitehall the power to overrule the democratic process and block local councils from making investment decisions in line with community values.

The 'Local Government Pension Scheme' consultation received an extraordinary 23,516 responses. It closed in February 2016. The vast majority of respondents rejected the government’s proposal but on 15 September 2016 the government gave it the green light.

War on Want’s senior militarism and security campaigner, Ryvka Barnard, said:

"This whole episode shows the government’s utter contempt for the public and their views. The government put this out to consultation and is now admitting that it will completely ignore the results of the consultation.

"Some 98% of respondents to the consultation rejected the proposal, and yet the government ploughs on regardless. Once again, the people have been ignored by an arrogant, anti-democratic government."

New guidance issued to local authorities on how they can invest their pensions, states that “using pension policies to pursue boycotts, divestment and sanctions against foreign nations and UK defence industries are inappropriate”, making clear that even when arms companies are complicit in human rights’ abuse, the government won’t sanction them and it will ban pension holders from doing so too.

At the time, War on Want called the government’s action "an attack on democracy", saying the government “should be applauding local communities for taking these ethical stances rather than cracking down on them.”

 

Notes to editors

For more information and to arrange interviews contact Ross Hemingway on 07983 550 728

UK government: Local government pension scheme: consultation outcome (27 September 2016)

War on Want: UK government block on local councils’ ethical investments 'an attack on democracy'

UK government: Local government pension scheme: guidance on preparing and maintaining an investment strategy statement (15 September 2016)

Protect Local Democracy campaign: http://waronwant.org/protect-local-democracy-qa

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