Greens and Lib Dems disassociate themselves from investment decision
- Credit: Uttlesford District Council
Seven Green and Liberal Democrat councillors have disassociated themselves from an Uttlesford District Council decision to invest £35m in a headquarters being built in Gloucestershire described as "investment 12".
At Thursday's meeting, Councillor Alan Dean said there had been a lack of full disclosure, that information provided on the investment was only about the design of the proposed building, the building contractor and financial matters.
Cllr Geoffrey Sell said he had searched for the company online, saw the company was involved in the defence industry, and had raised ethical issues.
Responding, Cllr Neil Reeve disputed the claim that members had been unaware of the nature of the company.
Cllr Paul Fairhurst, the joint leader of the Greens, put forward a motion for a protocol for ethical investments.
His motion was defeated in preference to an amendment proposed by Cllr Neil Reeve. This amendment commends the commitment to ethical integrity and the requirement to formulate an Investment Protocol to include ethical and environmental considerations.
The joint party statement putting on public record their disassociation from the council’s proposed investment has been signed by Cllrs Melvin Caton (Lib Dem), Alan Dean (Lib Dem), Paul Fairhurst (Green), Ayub Khan (Lib Dem), Barbara Light (Green), Janice Loughlin (Lib Dem), and Geoffrey Sell (Lib Dem).
Political party R4U has said the investment is ethical, they are investing in a building where they will be the landlord and they are not investing in the arms trade.
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In a statement, Oxfam conflict advisor Martin Butcher said he was disappointed that UDC decided not to adopt an ethical investment policy with human rights criteria at their meeting.
"This means their deal with Moog Space and Defense will go ahead. While some councillors claimed they were just a landlord renting out a building, in truth their deal frees up £35m of Moog's funds."
Moog Inc is a worldwide designer, manufacturer, and integrator of precision control components and systems. The company’s space products played a critical role in the successful landing of NASA’s Perseverance Rover on Mars.
Moog have been approached for comment.