Wales’ worst warmonger?

IssueOctober - November 2019
News by Christopher Draper

Gwynedd council in North Wales invests over £100 million in war, I discovered through a Freedom of Information request (FoIR). Gwynedd holds shares in Chemring, producer of gas canisters used against protesters in both Hong Kong and Tahrir Square; Lockheed Martin, whose bombs killed 40 children in a bus in Yemen; Safran who make navigation and rocket systems for nuclear missiles; and 83 other ‘defence’ companies.

Through its local government pension scheme (LGPS), Gwynedd also acts for neighbouring Conwy and Anglesey councils, providing pensions for 40,000 council workers.

Gwynedd claims that it is essential to invest in arms to maintain a ‘balanced’ share portfolio, but a separate FoIR revealed that the LGPS run by Flintshire council (also in North Wales) provides for as many pensioners with just nine million pounds invested in arms companies, less than 10 percent of Gwynedd’s murderous shareholding.

A recent joint report by ShareAction, the responsible investment charity, and trade union UNISON rated the management of all Britain’s LGPSs on accountability to members and how well they meet their aspirations. While the best scheme scored 17 out of a maximum 18, Flintshire scored 5 and Gwynedd just 1!

Professional fund managers, such as Blackrock, are supposed to operate under democratic direction and control, so why does the Plaid Cymru-dominated Gwynedd council invest so heavily in war?

Conwy Peace group are contacting individual councillors on Gwynedd’s pension committee seeking answers.

Conwy Peace Group have also sent FoIRs to the six remaining Welsh LGPSs to find out if Gwynedd can retain its crown of shame as ‘Wales’ Worst Warmonger’. We’ll let you know!

Topics: Arms trade
See more of: Wales