The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has been given leave to appeal against a Court of Appeal decision that upheld the Government’s right to restrict Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) from divesting contrary to UK foreign and defence policy.
The PSC expressed concern about threats to freedom of expression, government overreach in local democracy and the right of pension holders to have a say in the investment and divestment of funds.
The appeal, in the Supreme Court, is likely to be heard towards the end of the year.
The organisation said the original ruling prevented “the possibility of divestment from companies involved in Israel’s human rights violations”.
In 2016, the Department for Communities and Local Government issued guidance which prohibited LGPSs from disinvesting against foreign nations and UK defence industries. This included a prohibition against disinvestment in companies on the basis that they trade in products produced in the occupied Palestinian territories, for example, even if this was the will of the LGPS members.
PSC chair Hugh Lanning said: “This historic decision marks a significant moment for the Palestinian solidarity movement and for all those who believe in democracy, freedom of expression and justice. In 2005 Palestinian civil society called for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions measures until Israel adheres to its obligations under international law.
“Everyone, including pension scheme members, has a right to heed the Palestinian call and peacefully protest Israel’s violation of human rights – it is their money being invested unethically. We look forward to once again challenging the Government in court on this fundamental issue. We would like to thank all our members and supporters who have enabled us through their funding and support to pursue this case.”