Alex Cunningham calls for an end to tobacco investments

Cigarettes generic Councils take over responsibility for public health campaigns in 1 April

Related Stories

An MP has called for councils to "ditch" their investments in tobacco firms as they prepare to take over NHS anti-smoking campaigns.

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham said the pension schemes should look elsewhere to avoid a "clear conflict".

Research by BBC Sunday Politics found funds in the North East and Cumbria hold more than £100m worth of stock in global tobacco companies.

Fund managers insist all investments are in accordance with regulations.

A Freedom Of Information request by Sunday Politics uncovered the multi-million pound commitments.

Labour MP Mr Cunningham said councils should change their policies to avoid any mixed messages.

Local authorities will manage public health campaigns from 1 April.

Pension fund investments in tobacco companies

  • Cumbria County Council £8.2m
  • Durham County Council £26.7m
  • Teesside Pension Fund £68m

Mr Cunningham said: "They really have to look to other investments now whether that's oil, energy or somewhere else, they need to look where they can get a similar return and ditch tobacco once and for all."

The Teesside Pension Fund - which represents four local authorities - has the largest holding at nearly £68m.

Lead officer Paul Slocombe said: "The Teesside Pension Fund's investment policy is not to screen investments on social, ethical or environmental grounds but the fund does actively engage with companies to ensure good governance."

The full story will be on Sunday Politics in the North East and Cumbria on BBC One from 11:00 GMT on Sunday.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More England stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Stained glass of man with swordFrance 1 England 0

    The most important battle you have probably never heard of


  • Golden retriever10 things

    Dogs get jealous, and nine more nuggets from the week's news


  • Pro-Israel demonstrators shout slogans while protesting in Berlin - 25 July 2014Holocaust guilt

    Gaza conflict leaves Germans confused over who to support


  • The emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-SabahFreedoms fear

    Growing concern for rights as Kuwait revokes citizenships


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • CastleRoyal real estate

    No longer reserved for kings and queens, some find living in a castle simply divine

Programmes

  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.