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LETTER: Who pays for the arms trade?

IT IS shocking that almost the whole gamut of UK churches are, perhaps unwittingly, investing in the arms trade ("Churches reap riches from arms", 21 May).

However, it should be noted that our research, on which your report is based, also reveals that the health service invests liberally in this lethal trade. We identified over 120 hospitals, health authorities, NHS trusts etc, putting money into one or more of the seven big arms trading companies that we investigated.

But it is local authorities who have by far the biggest stake in this trade. We found that 150 million shares (about pounds 500m-worth) are held in their superannuation funds. They protest that they have no option - their investments are, they say, dictated by financial imperatives. In that case it is difficult to understand why Notting- hamshire, for instance, has to hold 5.8 million shares while Cheshire and 16 other authorities do not find it necessary to hold any.

Ray Hemmings

Co-ordinator, Campaign Against Arms Trade Clean Investment Campaign