The BBC have since reported that Norfolk County Council are thought to be reconsidering the investment. The council were quick to point out that while they administer the fund, it is on behalf of 130 separate employers. The council does not invest in tobacco itself.
It is to the council's credit that they are willing to reconsider their position with regard to this investment. It is something of a difficult position for those on the pension committee, who are bound to deliver the best possible returns for those who will benefit from the fund. There is also the consideration that if increased employer contributions are required to boost the fund, this could have a direct impact upon council tax rates in Norfolk.
Other contentious investments such as arms and fast food companies have been the subject of investment scrutiny in the past, but tobacco investment is an especially contentious investment for Norfolk at this time as in 2013, local councils will acquire primary responsibility for local tobacco-related public health policy.
It is to be hoped that a more ethical alternative that still delivers value for pension fund stakeholders and Norfolk residents will soon become available.