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A petition has called for Oxfordshire County Council's pension scheme to change its portfolio. part-time

Council's fossil fuel pension investment criticised

A council employee has criticised her employer's pension scheme investment in fossil fuel companies.

Kate Robinson, who works at Oxfordshire County Council, said she was deeply concerned her money is invested in firms which carry out oil extraction.

Her comments were made at a council meeting after 500 people signed a petition calling for investments to end.

The council has been approached for comment.

"When I look at our pension fund, I am deeply ashamed and quite frankly alarmed by the fact that the Brunel portfolio includes fossil fuel companies," Ms Robinson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

She said the petition shows a growing consensus that the council should "put climate action at the heart of [council] decision making".

"I am hugely conflicted as a member of this pension scheme," she added.

"The irony has not been lost on me that our organisation has signposted to Climate Action Oxfordshire's website to change our own personal behaviours, at home and at work."

But councillors questioned whether a staff member could bring the issue to a council meeting.

Councillor David Bartholomew asked whether the petition was "legitimate" as it had come from a member of council staff rather than a councillor.

He also quoted the code of conduct and said it "clearly states an officer must not use council facilities to protest against council policy, so that was wrong".

Anita Bradley, the council's monitoring officer, said the code of conduct issues was separate.

"Anything under the officer code of conduct would be dealt with outside any public meeting," she said.

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