Tax Big Oil / Divest Now: We need YOU to attend The Big Debate at County Hall on 9 May!

Please join us at County Hall in Lewes (St Anne’s Crescent, BN7 1UE) on the morning of Tuesday 9 May for THE BIG DEBATE on East Sussex County Council (ESCC)’s failure to address the cost of living & climate crises.

Assemble outside County Hall for rally and photo-op at 9am, before going inside for the debate – which should start shortly after 10am.

Pension fund member and lead petitioner Sarah Hazlehurst outside County Hall prior to the hand-in, Tuesday 21 March 2023. PHOTO: Natasa Leoni


ESCC has confirmed that it will ‘debate’ the ‘Tax Big Oil / Divest Now!’ petition at its next Full Council meeting on Tuesday 9 May.

So we now need as many members of the public as possible to attend in order to:

(a) support the lead-petitioner (and East Sussex Pension Fund member) Sarah Hazlehurst, who will have 5 minutes to address the meeting;

(b) ensure that the Councillors feel ‘the hand of history’ upon them, as they debate what are probably the most important issues they will consider this year;


(c) make it crystal clear to ESCC that this campaign will only continue to escalate until they change course and agree to stop investing local people’s pensions in the giant fossil fuel companies (like Shell and BP) that are driving the climate crisis.


The petition, which has been signed by 5,236 people from across East Sussex and Brighton & Hove, demands that East Sussex County Council (ESCC) ‘stops investing in fossil fuels, and that it publicly supports a proper permanent windfall tax on Big Oil and a rapid transition to a system that provides affordable green energy for everyone.’


“It’s crazy that our banks and our pensions are investing in fossil fuel, when these are the very things that are jeopardising the future that we are saving for.”David Attenborough

‘Our world is addicted to fossil fuels.  It’s time for an intervention. We need to hold fossil fuel companies and their enablers to account. That includes the banks, private equity, asset managers and other financial institutions that continue to invest and underwrite carbon pollution. And it includes the massive public relations machine raking in billions to shield the fossil fuel industry from scrutiny. Just as they did for the tobacco industry decades before, lobbyists and spin doctors have spewed harmful misinformation … it is high time to put fossil fuel producers, investors and enablers on notice. Polluters must pay. Today, I am calling on all developed economies to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies. Those funds should be re-directed in two ways: to countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis; and to people struggling with rising food and energy prices … Lift your climate ambition.  Listen to your people’s calls for change.’UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, 20 September 2022 (emphases added)

‘The loophole [in the current “windfall tax” on companies like Shell] amounts to us effectively giving £11 billion to oil and gas companies … enough to make sure that every NHS worker and every teacher in the UK gets an inflation matching pay rise. So if the UK government is looking fo rmoney it knows exactly here to find it.’ – climate lawyer Tessa Khan (emphasis added)


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