Laura Sharman 12 October 2015

Council pension funds lose ‘£683m with coal crash’

Local government workers have lost up to £683m from their pension funds due to the fall in coal share prices, new analysis has found.

Platform London, who calculated the figures based on 61 local authority pension funds over the past 18 months, said the failed investment in coal would affect millions of council staff.

The figures show Teeside’s coal investments lost 1.5% of its pension fund (£46.9m), followed by the London Borough of Merton at 1.4% (£6.8m). The value of Greater Manchester’s coal shareholding fell by the largest amount, losing £148m.

Platform London’s researcher Mika Minio-Paluello, said: ‘Our local councils are risking pension funds by investing into coal and fossil fuels, as advised by city firms raking in millions in fees. The burden of failing coal companies will be dumped on the public and pensioners. Local government workers deserve more say over where their pensions are invested.

‘If councils had divested from coal & reinvested into public transport and social housing two years ago, then pension holders, the climate and public services would all be better off. Divest-Reinvest is a win-win-win solution.’

Last month, campaigners called for councils to invest pension funds in local infrastructure, arguing £14bn has been invested in ‘risky’ fossil fuels.

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