Campaigners in Edinburgh are calling for their council to end its investment in arms companies.
Yesterday our friends at Edinburgh CAAT and the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre presented a 400 strong petition to Councillor Chas Booth, the Convener of Edinburgh Council’s petitions committee.
Edinburgh City Council is sitting on almost £130 million worth of investments in arms companies.
- Lockheed Martin: The biggest arms company in the world. It specialises in fighter jets and is one of the main contractors for the UK’s trident missiles. It has sold arms to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Bahrain, Pakistan and Egypt among others.
- BAE Systems: The UK’s largest arms company and is the lead producer of the Eurofighter Jet, which is currently being used by Saudi forces in the ongoing bombardment of Yemen.
- Northrop Grumman: Also one of the biggest arms companies in the world. It makes fighter jets and has worked on training programmes with Saudi forces.
- Honeywell: Honeywell produce systems for tanks, combat aircraft and drones.
As Mark Bitel of Edinburgh Campaign Against Arms Trade told us “Edinburgh City Council should be striving to leave as positive a footprint as possible and acting in the public good, rather than investing in companies that arm human rights abusers and profit from war and conflict.”
“Edinburgh was the birthplace of the enlightenment” he continued, “and should take the opportunity to set a positive precedent by putting people first and adopting an ethical investment policy. By investing in positive industries Edinburgh can lead the way and provide a beacon for other capital cities around the world.”
The petitions committee considered the petition this afternoon and agreed to refer it on to the Pensions Committee for consideration. The next meeting of the Pensions Committee is 28 June.
The webcast of the committee meeting, including the response from Lothian Pension Fund and the questions that followed, can be viewed here.