By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Nottinghamshire County Council has no direct or indirect financial interests which benefit the Russian economy, the authority’s finance chairman has confirmed.
This includes investments and contracts with external companies that may potentially deal with Russian or Belarussian businesses.
The news was confirmed during the authority’s full council meeting on Thursday (May 12) when Councillor Richard Jackson (Con), finance chairman, was asked to outline any potential financial interests with Russian firms.
He told councillors a company contracted by the council to supply wood pellets for Biomass boilers has recently changed suppliers, with the original supplier for these pellets once sourced by a Russian company.
It means the council now has no direct or indirect ties with the Russian economy at a time when the conflict in Ukraine continues to intensify.
“I can confirm we have no direct contracts with any Russian organisations or, indeed, Belarussian organisations,” Cllr Richard Jackson said.
“The one contract that could have had an indirect benefit to the Russian economy is one that we had which provides wood pellets that fuel Biomass boilers maintained by the council.
“This company buys supplies from a Scandinavian company which, in turn, used to buy from a Russian supplier.
“They have confirmed to us that they’ve now changed their supplier so there is no longer any direct connection with Russia in that change.
“Prices have increased as a consequence of this change, but this will not affect us until next winter.”
He added that he appreciates the “spirit and the point” of the question, which was raised by Labour’s Cllr Mike Pringle, and said the authority “is in solidarity with the Ukrainian people”.
He added: “We do not wish to be involved with any transactions that could be interpreted as supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
His comments came after Cllr Roger Jackson (Con) was selected to be the council’s new chairman for the 2022/23 year.
The new council chairman also spoke about the Nottingham branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, which is his designated charity for the year.
He said his nomination as chairman was a “great honour and privilege” and praised the work of the Ukrainian charity.
The new chairman said: “This has been established for many years as we’ve had a large community of Ukrainians living in the county.
“It has acted as the first point of contact for the many hosts and guests arriving in Nottinghamshire [as refugees from Ukraine] at the moment.
“Thanks to the generosity of many Nottinghamshire families we now have many Ukrainian guests living in our homes, and I’m sure there will be many more families arriving soon who will need our support and help to adjust and adapt to living here.
“When ready, hopefully they will be able to return safely in the not so distant future.”