The West Sussex Local Government Pension Fund is currently responsible for the pension benefits – and future benefits – of thousands of employees (WSCC employees, Local District Council employees, school teachers employed in West Sussex etc).
In 2019 it was known that the pension fund invested approximately £200 million in Fossil Fuel companies (we do not know the exact figure for 2020, although we do know that the share prices for BP, Shell etc have dropped significantly).
The divestment campaign was started in spring 2016 by Worthing Climate Action (WCAN), and asked the WSCC Pension Fund to divest all their funds from fossil fuel companies. In Nov 2017, following a petition, WCAN gave a detailed presentation to the WSCC Pension Committee, and presented strong arguments for divestment.
Various actions took place during 2018 and 2019 which culminated on 15th Feb 2020 with “The Valentine’s Day Divestment Demo” at the Chichester Council Offices (combined with Youth Strike day). This was supported by various environmental groups from around the county.
In early 2020 the CEO of Worthing Borough council wrote to Jeremy Hunt (Chair of WSCC Pensions Committee) asking them to divest.
By mid 2020 no positive responses (through 2016 to 2020) had been received by the campaign about the Pension Fund moving towards divestment.
In November 2020 a Motion was put forward by County Councillors Michael Jones and Morwen Millson calling for divestment. It is understood that this was discussed by the Pensions Committee on 17th November, and that they will make a statement to the Full Council in early 2021.
We would now ask you to write to cabinet members of the County Council.
Their details can be found here.
We would suggest writing to Jeremy Hunt and Deborah Urquhart for the moment (or any other councillor, as you see fit). Maybe after sending your email forward a copy to Morwen Millson ().
A draft template letter can be found here/attached.
“It’s crazy that our banks and our pensions are investing in fossil fuel,
when these are the very things that are jeopardizing the future which we are saving for”
Sir David Attenborough, A Life on our Planet, 2020
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