MSPs are to be urged to stop their pension fund investing in weapons, tobacco and dirty fuels after it emerged three in four Scots say they should not be able to.

The research has come as campaigners make new moves to ditch investments in companies that contribute to wars, climate change and ill health.

According to data from three years ago, almost one-tenth of the Scottish Parliamentary Pension Scheme is invested in fossl fuels, tobacco and the arms industry.


Now, a poll of 1,000 Scots by Survation shows that, of those expressing an opinion, 72 per cent say the MSP pension fund should not be able to invest in companies involved in arms manufacture, fossil fuel extraction and tobacco, while 28 per cent say it should.

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The 2015 analysis reveals £3.2 million is going into "unethical firms" with the MSPs' scheme funding firms behind Trident, killer drones, cigarettes and climate polluting carbon emissions.

In Scotland the Universities of Glasgow,  Abertay, West of Scotland and Queen Margaret, along with the United Reform Church, have fully committed to divest from the fossil fuel industry.

Last month the University of Edinburgh said it was dumping all its fossil fuel investments, making it the largest UK university endowment fund to be completely free of all coal, oil and gas holdings.

The multi-million-pound MSPs' pension fund is run by private investment managers and overseen by a board of trustees, most of whom are also MSPs.


In 2015 the fund gave £587,000 to three leading arms traders.

Rolls Royce makes the reactors that run Britain’s nuclear submarines, including those armed with Trident nuclear missiles based at Faslane.

The MSP pension fund also poured £474,000 into two big international tobacco companies, British American Tobacco and Japanese Tobacco.

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The biggest slice of the pension fund - £2.1 million – went to 15 major coal, oil and gas companies, blamed for the carbon dioxide emissions that are disrupting the global climate.

Off the back of the poll, commissioned by the Scottish Greens, John Finnie, the party's justice spokesman will on Thursday question the parliament's Corporate Body on its pension fund investment strategy and whether current and former MSPs will be consulted about which industries their pensions support.

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He said: "The pension fund for MSPs and their staff is complicit in the misery caused by warfare, climate change and the legacy of the tobacco industry. Anyone with an ounce of ethics would want this fund to get out of those investments, and it's now clear that is also the view of most Scots.

"The managers of Holyrood's fund cannot wring their hands any longer. In light of major divestment announcements recently from the likes of Edinburgh University, Lloyd's of London and even New York City, there's simply no excuse. I will continue to press for change."

Friends of the Earth Scotland's director Dr Richard Dixon added: "The Scottish Parliament has shown strong leadership on climate change in the past and should insist the pension fund stops investing in companies that are contributing to the destruction of our climate.

“These funds cannot provide for a safe future whilst backing the business-as-usual models of oil and gas companies intent to drill every last drop, despite the climate consequences.

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"The record high temperatures in the Arctic and the enormous impact of extreme weather events in these islands highlight the climate emergency we are currently facing.

“Scottish students and universities have led the way with at least 7 institutions making firm commitments to break free of fossil fuel investments. With a new climate bill coming soon the Scottish Parliament’s pension scheme needs to help deliver a fossil free future for Scotland rather than clinging to the destructive past."

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A study by think tank Common Weal, Unison Scotland and Friends of the Earth Scotland revealed that while £1.7 billion is being invested in fossil fuel firms by Scotland's council pension funds, just £234 million is being invested in renewable energy and social housing.

It said the amount invested in fossil fuel companies has not changed despite governments around the world signing up to tackle climate change in Paris in December, 2015.