Martin Ford 19 June 2023

Gove to pursue council boycott ban

Gove to pursue council boycott ban image
Image: Peter Rhys Williams/Sutterstock.com

Legislation aimed at preventing councils from launching their own boycotts has been introduced to Parliament.

Local government secretary Michael Gove said the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill would crack down on local authorities ‘pursuing their own foreign policy agenda’.

The measure was a feature of the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto and featured in last year’s Queen’s Speech.

Documents released in support of the speech specifically highlighted a motion passed by Lancaster City Council expressing its support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and urging the Lancashire County Pension Fund to divest funds from firms linked with Israeli settlements in Palestine.

Mr Gove told a national newspaper such motions were ‘wasting taxpayers’ time’ and councils must be stopped from ‘undermining’ the Government’s foreign policy.

The legislation is expected to ensure local authorities’ procurement rules follow national policy, with fines for any breaches.

However, reservations have been expressed by some Local Government Pension Scheme funds about possible unintended consequences if the Bill prevents them taking into account environmental, social and governance factors.

This article was originally published by The MJ (£)

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