HC Deb 29 June 1998 vol 315 c18
37. Mr. Paul Flynn (Newport, West)

If he will make a statement on the Church Commissioners' 30 per cent. threshold for ethical investments. [46353]

Mr. Stuart Bell (Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing the Church Commissioners)

Precise benchmarking criteria are not operated. The benchmark that we use is whether the restricted areas represent a sufficiently limited proportion of the whole group, rather than the absolute size.

Mr. Flynn

How do the Church's investments in weapons of warfare advance the work of the prince of peace?

Mr. Bell

I am always grateful for helpful supplementaries, of which that is one. The Church welcomes the new European Union code of conduct on arms sales, which should tighten the laws on arms sales to repressive regimes. We work closely with the ethical investment working group of the Church Commissioners, which has developed a dialogue over the past two years with companies that manufacture arms. We ensure that companies always operate under Government licence and within the ethical guidelines of the Church Commissioners.