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Bolton Liberal Democrats have called on Bolton Council to take action in order to protect over 8,500 Bolton Council employee pensions after it was revealed that £1.3 billion of public funds has been invested in fossil fuel investments through the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF).

Cllr Andrew Martin, Smithills, has moved a motion asking the council to call on GMPF to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies, including those engaged in fracking operations and exploration, in order to minimise the risk climate controls may have on the fossil fuel industry.

"The recent agreement in Paris to restrict the rise in global temperatures to below 2 degrees C will render the majority of the world’s coal, oil and gas reserves unburnable." explains Cllr Martin "In turn, this will mean that investments in these fossil fuels will be extremely risky for GMPF pension scheme members. We are urging the council to take actions which will not only protect the pensions of Bolton Council employees, but of all employees within the Greater Manchester Combined Authority who may have pensions with the GMPF."

The motion also calls for the council to work with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to develop and fund a sustainable low carbon investment programme for Greater Manchester and hopes to see complete divestment from fossil fuels within 5 years.

Last November the Bolton Liberal Democrats successfully passed a motion calling on the Council to back the "strong public opposition" to fracking and commit to saying "no" to fracking upon publicly owned land.

"The Bolton Liberal Democrats have been at the forefront of the campaign to combat fracking in Bolton and we will continue to fight for the greener, cleaner council that the residents of Bolton want to see. We owe it to not only the employees of the council, but to their children and children's children, to seek full divestment from fossil fuels and push for cleaner low carbon energy." says Cllr Martin.

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Notes to the Editor

  1. The Greater Manchester Pension Fund is the largest local authority pension fund in the country, with total investments of over £13 billion. Its members work for the 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester, and a whole host of other organisations such as local colleges and Citizens Advice Bureau. http://www.gmpf.org.uk/
  2. The full wording of the motion can be read by visiting http://bolton-libdems.org.uk/blog/Divestment-Motion

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