Search

Nurse condemns ‘hypocritical’ Islington Council over tobacco

09:46 18 July 2012

Cllr Richard Greening

Cllr Richard Greening

Archant

Town hall bosses have been branded “hypocritical” for investing millions of pounds in tobacco firms – while preaching against the evils of smoking.

Islington Council this week admitted it has put £13million into two tobacco companies as part of its £750million pension pot.

The figures were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by NHS nurse John Warren who has witnessed first-hand the dire impact of smoking and the huge burden it puts on the health service.

The 30-year-old said: “It’s hypocritical when they talk about their anti-smoking efforts and the public needs to know. It’s a huge amount of money and for me, working in the NHS, it’s very disappointing. It’s a very unethical investment.”

Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s health chief, recently spoke out against the habit and urged residents to quit, saying it is the biggest cause of premature death in the borough.

Yet the council claims it has a legal duty to maximise its returns and therefore cannot pull out of tobacco.

Mr Warren was unimpressed by this, saying: “If crack cocaine and heroin were legal, would it be okay to invest in them? It’s a product that kills half of its users – more than crack or heroin – so just because it’s legal, that doesn’t make it acceptable.”

The council’s excuse is also vigorously disputed by charities including FairPensions and Action on Smoking and Health.Emma Dixon, of the Islington Green Party, said: “Islington Council has committed itself to a strategy working towards a smoke-free Islington by 2020.

“So why is it lining the pockets of the tobacco firms who are doing so much to damage the health of residents?”

Islington has the second-highest rate of adult smokers in London, with 25 per cent, or roughly 50,000 people, and the problem costs NHS Islington about £11million a year.

Cllr Richard Greening, the council’s executive member for finance, said: “We undertook a review about three or four years ago to see whether a more ethical investment stance would generate similar levels of return and found that it wouldn’t.

“We are required to maximise returns from the pension fund’s investments and so are not in a position to disinvest from these companies.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:08
Pete with a croc and one of the children helped by school of croc

A crocodile catcher who travels the world extracting dangerous reptiles from communities wants to change the lives of a group of Islington’s young adults.

Yesterday, 16:14
Jack Hughes

Model students across Islington were recognised for achievements big and small at an annual awards ceremony.

Yesterday, 12:00
Islington primary pupils working on some programming at the event

Schoolchildren set to be future Tech City pioneers came together to celebrate their achievements in computing last week, joined by television personality Maggie Philbin.

Yesterday, 08:14
Neville Reeves is on the left. On the right is Rob Hewitt, another volunteer

When you think of lock keepers, it might conjure the image of Victorian Canals from a bygone era.

Most read news

No one is happy he’s bagged the Knight of the Order of Australia award.

Press Association figures reveal the extensive use of new domestic violence laws.

It’s easy to lose sight of how beautiful London is when you’re crammed into a commuter train. Let these flying Instagram users take you on a bird’s eye tour of London.

People have pretty good memories when it comes to the outstanding performance of a tub of lard on HIGNFY.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder