MEND condemns Robert Jenrick MP’s amendment to the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill
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Thursday February 24 2022
MEND condemns Robert Jenrick MP’s amendment to the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill which will severely curtail the ability of public sector pension scheme members to make ethical choices regarding the investment of their pension fund.
The new amendment will empower the Secretary of State to prevent public sector pensions schemes from making “investments that conflict with the United Kingdom’s foreign and defence policy.”
This amendment comes as a specific targeted attack on BDS activity relating to Israel. However, the broad wording of the clause would give the Secretary of State the ability to curtail ethical investment decisions of public pension members that go against the UK’s wider foreign policy, including as a mechanism to address human rights violations in places such as China and India.
As was seen in the efforts to finally end apartheid in South Africa, the freedom to make ethical investment decisions is a powerful tool for advocate for the most vulnerable and powerless across the world, especially when state powers refuse to act, or worse, actively support oppressive regimes. This new amendment serves only to encroach upon public sector employees’ rights to democratic engagement by curtailing their means to political opposition.
For more information, see Amnesty International’s briefing here.