£50 million pounds worth of pension payments to be invested in Facebook
Tuesday 30th October 2018 @ 15:38 by lauren Entwistle
News

More than £50 million pounds worth of pension payments from teachers, police officers and firefighters across Derbyshire is being invested in high tech companies who have been urged to pay more tax.

By Eddie Bisknell, local democracy reporter.

More than £50 million worth of pension payments from teachers, police officers and firefighters across Derbyshire is being invested in high tech companies who have been urged to pay more tax.

The Derbyshire Pension Fund is valued at £4.6 billion, as stated in a report published by the county council this week.

More than 200 employers pay into the fund, with over 100,000 members.

Derbyshire County Council oversees the fund, which also covers employees of Derby City Council and the district and borough councils.

Much of the payments made to the fund, such as by teachers, police officers, firefighters and councillors, are used to make investments in companies – to bring in more money.

The new report states that these investments returned £191.9 million last year.

It also details the firms in which these investments are made.

Among the top 10 US firms the fund invests in are Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and the parent company of Google – Alphabet.

The fund’s holdings in Facebook are worth £12.3 million and have increased by £5 million in the last year.

Holdings in Alphabet Inc more than doubled from £7 million to £14.5 million this year.

Investments in Amazon increased from £10.9 million to £12.8 million.

Meanwhile, holdings in Microsoft increased at a similar rate to Facebook, rising by £5 million £12.5 million.

Several of these companies have come under fire for how much tax they pay in the UK, due to legal loopholes.

Data shows that out of sales worth £1.3 billion in the UK, Facebook paid £15.7 million in tax – though this is triple the year before.

Meanwhile, Amazon made just under £2 billion in the UK last year and paid £4.6 million in tax.

In today’s Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond brought in a “digital services tax” on advertising revenue – thought to be targeting Facebook and Google in particular.

Pierre Moscovici, head of tax for the European Commission, has said that a new tax on technology giants such as Facebook, Amazon and Google could raise £4.4bn a year across Europe and could be brought in by Christmas.

This year the fund also began investing in another well-known US communications firm, Verizon, with holdings of £9.6 million.

The fund’s largest US-based investment is in the Bank of America with £19.2 million, rising by £7 million in the last year.

It also has holdings in aerospace giants Boeing (£9.9 million) and Lockheed Martin (£6.9 million).

Its largest UK-based investment is in the oil and gas giant Shell with holdings of £88.3 million, which has risen by £11 million in the last year.

Other well-known UK firms include AstraZeneca (£37.9 million), Lloyds (£33.6 million), and Vodafone (£31 million).

However, the value of its top 10 UK-based holdings have decreased overall, while its top 10 US-based stakes have all increased.

The report states that “UK equity returns were affected by on-going uncertainty following the EU Referendum” and that “United States protectionism” was also hindering financial gains.

Derbyshire County Council has been approached for comment.