‘Morally unacceptable’: £2.5m of Havering’s money invested in tobacco

Havering Council has defended its position (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA)

Havering Council has defended its position (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Havering Council’s growing investment in tobacco companies has been slammed by health campaigners as “ethically and morally unacceptable”.

Nearly £2.5million of the local authority’s pension pot is tied up in shares with companies that produce cigarettes, cigars and rolling paper - even though the council has the job of helping people quit smoking.

Health campaigner Med Buck - who chaired watchdog Havering Link before it was dissolved last year - has questioned the investment, calling it “ethically and morally unacceptable”.

But the council defended its position, with leader Cllr Roger Ramsey stressing “the pension fund and the council are actually legally separate entities”.

He added: “Whilst we do not impose any obligation on investment managers to avoid specific companies, they are encouraged to use those that demonstrate best practice in companies’ management of the social, environmental and ethical impact of their activities.”

• See Friday’s Recorder for full coverage of the controversy.