Bucks Council spent hundreds of thousands on contracts with Russian-owned Gazprom
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Bucks Council has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on contracts with Russian-owned energy firm Gazprom within the last six years, figures reveal.
Provided by data firm Tussell, the figures show the total public sector spend in the UK with Gazprom between 2016 and 2021 was £107 million – and more than a quarter (£29 million) was from local authorities.
Bucks Council, and the former Bucks County Council, accounted for £292,956 of the spend through contracts with the firm between 2017 and 2021.
The largest annual spend of £183,984 occurred last year.
Bucks Council Leader Martin Tett told the Bucks Herald: "As a matter of urgency, we are currently reviewing all contracts and investments to establish if there are any links with Russian-based firms; we will sever any ties that we may have, where this is feasible.
"Like many other councils, we do have a small number of buildings supplied by Gazprom and we are looking at our options around ending those arrangements as soon as we can.
"Our pension fund pooling partner has a very small proportion of Russian assets and has taken a stance to disinvest from all Russian-controlled and Russian-owned assets, bonds and equities where practical.”
A number of councils have now said they want to end contracts with Gazprom and are exploring alternative options, as attacks intensify following the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the conflict which has been condemned by leaders around the world.
A spokesperson for the Local Government Association said: “Councils are deeply saddened by the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine and are following the situation closely.
“It is up to individual councils to decide how to act locally but, like many organisations, they will be reviewing what action they might want to take in light of UK sanctions and the ongoing situation.”
The LGA added that it is looking at how to bring councils together next week to discuss their plans and agree shared approaches.
Meanwhile, a senior government source told the PA news agency that Health Secretary Sajid Javid has been in talks with NHS England over ending contracts with Gazprom.
The source told PA: “Sajid has spoken with NHS England and been clear that trusts need to stop using Gazprom as a supplier.
“He has also requested a wider review of any Russian role in supply chains across the health service.”
The NHS accounted for £77 million (72%) of the public sector spend with Gazprom over six years.
Newcastle Hospitals Trust topped the list with a spend of £14.9 million, followed by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust at £8.1 million and the Countess of Chester Hospital Trust, which spent £5.2 million.
Mr Javid's request comes after Lord Simon Stevens, former head of NHS England, told the House of Lords that “decarbonising the health sector will take pound notes out of the hands of dictatorial regimes that are engaged in acts of aggression”.