Allow UK public institutions to boycott unethical goods!

Public institutions in the UK - including local councils and some universities - have been banned from boycotting unethical goods, with a threat of "severe punishments" if they do so.

On 15 February 2015 the government announced that public bodies were not allowed to boycott goods without a UK-wide government decision. This new procurement policy was announced without any parliamentary debate or vote. 

Previously, public bodies would have been able to boycott companies on ethical grounds such as animal welfare, environmental concerns, or human rights. In 2014 Leicester council decided to boycott goods produced in the West Bank, followed by four Scottish councils. Some local authorities and student unions boycott Nestle products over concerns about its over-zealous marketing of baby milk formula. The new Government policy outlaws these kinds of procurement decisions.

A spokesperson for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that this ban "would have outlawed council action against apartheid South Africa". The UK economics relations programme director has warned that the move will remove any "incentive" for companies to ensure there aren't human rights abuses in their supply chains if public bodies can't hold them to account by choosing who to award contracts.

Please sign this petition and share it. If enough people sign, the Prime Minister will see that our councils and universities should have a right to boycott companies whose actions we find unethical.

You can also tweet Prime Minister David Cameron at @David_Cameron.

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