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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Comic Relief invests in weapons manufacturing Barrow shipyard owner BAE Systems

COMIC Relief has defended its investment policy, which saw it invest in Barrow shipyard owners BAE Systems as well as tobacco companies.

A BBC Panorama documentary claims that the charity could have generated more cash from “ethical” funds.

The charity, which generates huge publicity for its activities with star-studded programmes on BBC1, has avoided a policy of ethical screening for its investments because it says it does not want to limit the amount of money it raises.

The programme – to be screened tonight – says the charity has invested in tobacco, alcohol and weapons manufacturing firms in the past. Panorama’s probe into Comic Relief has already caused some controversy after claims that the corporation had shelved the programme – following a postponement – which led to director-general Tony Hall reassuring MPs in October that he hoped the programme would go ahead.

The BBC said the documentary shows that Comic Relief’s mission statement says it has a commitment to help “people affected by conflict”, but in 2009 it had £630,000 in shares in BAE Systems. The charity has also had £3m of its money wrapped up in tobacco companies.

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