A new Scottish publication has shown that despite the Scottish government and public’s opposition to funding nuclear weapons, local government pension funds, universities, and financial institutions are investing billions of pounds in the production of nuclear weapons.
Working to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons Through Divestment: A Guide for Scotland shows that nine local government pension funds hold shares worth nearly £300 million across 14 nuclear weapons companies. The report found that universities in Scotland also hold shares, with the University of Glasgow investing a staggering £1.6 million across 11 nuclear weapons companies.
The report shows that in addition to this, financial companies such as RBS Group, Lloyds Banking Group and the Bank of Scotland, provided nuclear weapons producers with £4.7 billion between 2014 and 2017. These investments have been used across the production, maintenance and delivery systems for nuclear weapons, including into BAE Systems which are constructing the UK’s new nuclear-armed ‘Dreadnought’ submarines.
This investment goes against the global majority opposed to nuclear weapons, including the majority of Scottish MSPs and MPs who have supported the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This report shows that as well as the public purse funding Trident replacement’s £205 billion price tag, nuclear weapons companies are also being funded by individual members of the public through this back door method of pension funds investment..
However, the report also shows how individuals can add to the great work already being done to implement a global ban on nuclear weapons. Scottish individuals with a bank account or pension fund can use their position to add their voices to the calls for divestment away from nuclear companies. This offers a great chance for individuals to take a stand against nuclear weapons, bringing Scottish bodies into line with Scotland’s powerful anti-nuclear values.
We must continue to place pressure on these institutions, once and for all ending the UK’s dangerous role in propagating nuclear warfare.