REVEALED: New data shows council has £108million invested across multiple controversial countries such as Qatar, Kuwait, China and more

WNC has investments in controversial countries such as Qatar and Chine. Cllr Malcolm Longley (right)
WNC has investments in controversial countries such as Qatar and Chine. Cllr Malcolm Longley (right)

New data has revealed West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has a whopping £108million invested in controversial countries such as Qatar, Kuwait, China and the United Arab Emirates.

Chronicle and Echo recently submitted a Freedom of Information request (FOI) to WNC asking to see all of its financial investments.

The latest financial data reveals WNC continues to invest in ethically questionable countries such as Qatar, which has the death penalty, is against same-sex relationships and much more, according to Amnesty International.

Fixed Deposits

Here's the data, correct as of of August 25, 2023, on the outstanding investments in fixed deposits:

Bank of Montreal: Starting on November 29, 2022, and maturing on August 29, 2023, WNC has invested £5,000,000.

Landesbanken Hessen-Thuringen Girozentrale (Helaba): An investment of £5,000,000 was made on December 8, 2022, with maturity set for October 9, 2023.

Qatar National Bank: A strong commitment with two deposits, each worth £5,000,000, with one maturing on October 6, 2023, and the other on November 3, 2023.

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC: An investment of £5,000,000, started on April 12, 2023, and maturing on October 12, 2023.

Lloyds Bank Corporate Market (NRFB) PLC: Two deposits totalling £3,000,000, both maturing on October 12, 2023.

National Bank of Kuwait (International) plc: A £2,000,000 investment with maturity set for October 12, 2023.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp: Two investments, each worth £5,000,000, with one maturing on February 2, 2024, and the other on February 9, 2024.

National Bank of Canada: A significant £5,000,000 deposit with maturity on December 8, 2023.

In addition to fixed deposits, WNC also has investments in Variable Net Asset Value (VNAV) funds. Here they are:

Royal London Enhanced Cash Plus Fund Y Inc: A substantial investment of £1,468,815 made on May 12, 2017.

The UK Municipal Bond Agency: A commitment of £100,000 made on September 25, 2014.

Pathfinder Legal Services (formerly LGSS Law): An investment worth £237,500 started on April 15, 2020.

CCLA Local Authorities Property Fund: A significant investment of £6,945,068 made on November 29, 2018.

In total, VNAV funds contribute £8,751,383 to WNC’s financial market.

Council response

Cllr Malcolm Longley, WNC’s cabinet member for finance, said: "All of our investments are in line with our investments policy which was reviewed and agreed for the financial year 2023-24 in February 2023.

“It’s important to emphasize that the council's treasury management activities have undergone scrutiny and review, with recommendations made by the Treasury Management Strategy Task and Finish Group. The recommendations concluded that WNC is conducting treasury management in accordance with the CIPFA Treasury Management Code of Conduct and appropriate risk management practices.”

“No concerns were raised by opposition councillors when the full council meeting approved the investment policy earlier this year.”

Opposition reaction

Opposition councillor Keith Holland-Delamere, the finance spokesperson for the WNC Labour Group, said: “The WNC Labour Group has concerns about aspects of our investment policy and how ethical the investments are. We urge that the administration brings forward an ethical investment policy that ensures our investments do not go into questionable investments such as Qatar.”

Independent councillor Julie Davenport (Delapre and Rushmere ward) added: “They haven’t said how much better the investments are compared to more ethical investments. What was the difference in income for WNC by deciding to invest in countries like Qatar?”

Read more: Data reveals West Northants Council has U-turned and reinvested £15million of taxpayer money into human rights abusing Qatar

WNC has been asked for further comment.