UK public authorities spent at least £25m with Kremlin-backed Gazprom last year Business News

British public sector bodies have been accused of ‘fuelling Putin’s war machine’ after it emerged they had collectively paid at least £25million to Russian gas giant Gazprom last year.

Councils, academy trusts and hospital bodies were among the taxpayer-funded organizations that helped fill the Russian company’s coffers, an analysis by the GMB union showed.

Gazprom recently won a £3.6m contract to supply gas and power to the University of Manchester and has struck a £1.2m deal with Delta, one of the largest major academic groups in the country.

Data from Tussell, a provider of public sector contract data, shows Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spent £7.1million – the most of any public sector body.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said NHS trusts must stop using Gazprom as a supplier. It came after the Health Service Journal revealed that 17 trusts were using gas supplied by the company.

Gazprom’s UK branch has paid a total of £1.2 billion in dividends to its parent company since its inception in 1999. The parent company is majority-owned by the Russian state.

Pressure is mounting on companies and governments to ditch Gazprom, which is a key source of revenue for Vladimir Putin, who stepped up Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with heavy bombardment of urban areas on Wednesday.

This map shows areas held by Russian forces in Ukraine

(Images from the Press Association)

Gary Smith, general secretary of GMB, has called for an outright ban on any public sector contracts awarded to Gazprom and for an urgent review to determine whether existing contracts can be transferred to new suppliers.

“Serious questions need to be asked about how our schools and hospitals have become entangled in the energy supply chain that powers Putin’s war machine,” he said.

“Ultimately, this spending is a condemnation of the failure of UK energy policy to prioritize affordable and secure supply.

“It is morally inadmissible that contracts are still being awarded while missiles are raining down on Ukrainian workers.”

Private sector organizations also rushed to cut ties with Russian companies this week.

The Institute of Directors said on Thursday it was “no longer tenable” for Britons to hold board positions at Russian and Belarusian companies.

“While directors have legal obligations to the companies whose board they sit on, they should also feel a stronger moral duty to uphold the core values ​​of freedom and democracy,” the IoD director said. , Jonathan Geldard.

A poll by the IoD found overwhelming support for his position, with 86% of people agreeing.

Fund managers in charge of trillions of pounds in savings have also sought to sell their Russian assets and revise their policies towards the country.

Nest, which manages the pensions of 10 million people in the UK, said it would sell all of its Russian investments “as soon as possible”.

British Gas owner Centrica this week announced plans to end supply deals with Russian firms, including state-backed gas giant Gazprom.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-03 16:11:13

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