12 November 2006
UK UNIVERSITIES OWN £15million IN ARMS SHARES, RESEARCH SHOWS
The UK's universities own shares in the arms trade worth over £15million, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. 45 universities and university colleges have admitted that they own shares in at least one top arms company. Three institutions - UCL, Trinity Hall Cambridge and the University of Liverpool - each hold arms shares worth over £1million.
However, the research also reveals the success of local campaigns against trading in arms. The University of Wales, Bangor and the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) have sold their arms shares following pressure from students and staff. The Universities of St Andrew's and Manchester are both developing ethical investment policies in consultation with students.
Tim Street, Co-ordinator of the CAAT Universities Network said:
"It is inexcusable for an institution based on learning and progress to fund a trade that fuels war and perpetuates poverty. Alternative investments are financially beneficial as well as ethically clean. In the last year, students from London to Bangor have taken on the arms companies and won. We are confident that students and university staff will be successful in campaigning for clean investment at many more universities throughout the UK."
Researchers at Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) asked for details of investments in several top arms companies, including BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and the Smiths Group, which have been involved in the supply of weapons to oppressive regimes. The 45 institutions who admit to holding such shares include nine Oxford colleges, eight Cambridge colleges and twelve of the twenty institutions which belong to the Russell Group of elite universities. In addition, 33 institutions refused to provide the information, meaning that total figures could be even higher.
The ten universities and university colleges with the highest confirmed value of arms investments are as follows:
1. University College, London (UCL) - £1,591,627
2. Trinity Hall, Cambridge - £1,252,000
3. University of Liverpool - £1,215,000
4. Nuffield College, Oxford - £920,000
5. King's College, London - £903,550
6. New College, Oxford - £850,670
7. St Hilda's College, Oxford - £823,555
8. University of Hull - £745,192
9. University of York - 618,923
10. University of Manchester - £575,640
For further information or an interview please contact CAAT's Media Co-ordinator, Symon Hill on 020 7281 0297 or email press(at)caat·org·uk.
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.
2. CAAT campaigns for all universities and colleges to divest from the arms trade, break links with arms companies and adopt clean investment policies.
3. Details and statistics for any or all institutions investigated are available on request.
4. CAAT submitted requests under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act to 199 higher education institutions in the UK, asking for details of investments in named companies as of 31st March 2006.
5. The figure given for each institution's arms shares is calculated by adding together the value of its shares in BAE Systems, Cobham, GKN, QinetiQ, Rolls Royce, Smiths Group and VT Group.
6. 45 institutions confirmed that they held shares in at least one of these companies and gave figures. 81 institutions confirmed that they held no shares, either directly or indirectly, in any of these companies. Six explicitly refused to answer and 27 failed to reply to repeated FoI requests. 40 stated that whilst they held no direct investments in these companies, they were unable to state if shares held indirectly were invested in them.
7. In October 2005, CAAT published research on university arms investments which triggered campaigns for divestment at many universities, leading to total divestment from arms companies at the University of Wales, Bangor and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London). This year's research has investigated university arms investments in greater detail.
8. CAAT spokespeople are available for interview on this research and on the subject of university arms investment.