MILLIONS of pounds of pension fund money has been invested into the arms, tobacco and fossil fuel industries, The Argus can reveal.

West Sussex Pension Fund, which provides pensions for dozens of councils, schools, and colleges, has £2.7 million invested in weapon manufacturer BAE Systems.

The firm is the biggest arms company in Europe and its Eurofighter and Typhoon jets have been used in the Yemeni Civil War.

More than 100,000 people have been killed or wounded in the war, while millions more have been displaced.

Michael Jones, leader of the opposition in West Sussex County Council, said the findings would “fill many local residents with horror”.

He said: “Whenever this has been challenged in previous years, any changes to the investment policy have been fiercely resisted by the Tory majority on the pensions panel.

“I have always been supportive of the West Sussex pension funds only having ethical investments and believe that’s what most residents and pension fund members would want.”

Andrew Smith, of the Campaign Against Arms Trade, said: “BAE has a long history of arming and supporting human rights abusers and dictatorships all around the world.

“Right now its fighter jets are playing a central role in the Saudi-led destruction of Yemen.

“This terrible war, which has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, would not be possible without the deadly aircraft being produced by BAE.

“West Sussex County Council should be setting a positive precedent by investing in positive companies.”

A list of West Sussex Pension Fund investments seen by The Argus also showed more than £170 million was invested in the fossil fuels industry.

That included £32 million invested in BP and £20.6 million in Shell.

But in May, the county c ouncil, whose pensions panel manages the fund, pledged to go zero-carbon by 2030.

Head of the South East Climate Alliance Geoff Barnard said the fund was “deeply invested” in the fossil fuel industry.

He said: “Ten years ago this was the safe and responsible option. But times have changed.

“To be investing in fossil fuels now is both unsafe for investors and deeply irresponsible for the planet.

“It is completely incompatible to be converting schools to solar to save on carbon emissions on one hand while supporting companies that are drilling for oil and strip mining coal on the other.”

Labour Councillor Jones said: “It’s unacceptable that the fund has any money left invested in fossil fuel companies and not in keeping with what the council professes are its environmental values.

“Even though the law changed some years ago which made ethical and environmental investment policies much more possible, I am not optimistic we will get the council to move any time soon on this.”

A council spokeswoman said its investment managers have now been asked to consider “the effects of social, environmental, and governance issues on the performance of a company”.

She said: “The pensions panel is mindful of its legal duty to obtain the best possible return.”