LibLink: Cllr Alex Folkes takes on the tobacco industry

Alex FolkesOn the Local Government Association blog, Cllr Alex Folkes writes:

At a time when all councils are trying to save money, why should an authority be funding both sides of an expensive battle? That’s the case in Cornwall, and many other councils, in terms of the tobacco industry.

On the one hand, in our public health role, we have a duty to work to cut smoking rates. On the other we have pension funds, which are invested for the benefit of our former and current staff and for which members are trustees charged with a duty to maximise returns.

He concludes:

As far as I can tell there are local authorities which come down firmly on both sides of the argument. Rather than an expensive court case for all concerned, it is time for ministers to clarify the law on this issue. Whether it be the general power of competence or another provision, councils need to know where they stand. After all, it is madness for us to be fighting both sides of the battle.

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