City of London & Hong Kong Have More In Common Than Their Democratic Deficits

The City of London’s “charm offensive in the race for renminbi” has paid off, with London daily trading in renminbi now exceeding that in euro, the Financial Times reported. But this is only half the story, which is also about life after Brexit for Britain, and about the nation’s role in China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”. Some have suggested that post-Brexit Britain could become “another Singapore” by modelling itself on successful island economies. But in reality the City of London may be in process of becoming another Hong Kong. The key is that both Britain and its former colony are situated at either end of the Belt and Road project.

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Brexit ‘could benefit overseas development by curbing City of London’s power’

The City of London is the largest financial centre in the EU and one of the biggest facilitators of tax havens, tax avoidance and so on. What will Brexit mean for financial sector regulation, for our efforts to, for example, close down tax havens or stop tax-dodging by multinational corporations? How much will the EU take aim at the City of London after Brexit, and what does that mean for UK actors trying to influence those discussions? The EU may try to minimise the role of the City of London and all the problems it causes in the global economy. If the EU uses its power to cut off access to the EU financial sector from the UK, it could have a major impact on the UK’s ability to continue to be one of the leading global financial sector players.

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City of London VAT loophole will go to the European Court of Justice

While tax rates are mainly set at national level, Brussels tries to restrict how far governments can go in lowering VAT rates to lure business, while allowing countries to introduce specific carve-outs. Brussels opened “infringement proceedings” against the UK on the issue last year, following talks between EU and UK officials dating back to 2015. The UK government declined to comment but officials have previously said the VAT treatment was “vital” to ensure the City remained a world-leading hub for commodities trading.

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Stop Plutocracy in the City of London

Whether London is at number one or number one hundred in the Z/Yen global financial centers index is a matter of indifference to us. What we want is an end to the undemocratic business vote system that sustains plutocracy in the City of London! The residents living under this council have as much right to a democratic local authority as the rest of the UK. It’s a scandal we currently have virtually no say in our local matters due to the dominance of business votes! Say no to business votes, say yes to democracy! Democratic electoral reform now!

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Sue Langley, Aldermen & The City of London’s Rotten Political System

Until the City of London is democratically reformed with the abolition of business votes and a reduction in the number of its councillors to a level commensurate with its residential electorate, its political system will provide an attractive target for those inclined to manipulate voting systems and seeking an easy route to power and influence. We will continue to keep an eye on upcoming City of London elections. Later this year Matthew Richardson is scheduled to step down as Billingsgate alderman. An election in that ward might well be of wider interest than the alderman contests we’ve reported in recent posts.

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Bank Of England & Billy Bragg, A Marriage Made In Heaven?

“Democracy is not enough. We need to hold corporations to account,” says Billy Bragg. While democracy may or may not be enough, contra Bragg, in the City of London –where the Bank of England is located and Bragg is set to deliver a speech on accountability – democracy would make a huge difference not just to the residents of this rotten borough, but the entire world. It isn’t clear whether Bragg doesn’t know or doesn’t care that the 80% of City of London councillors are ‘elected’ on undemocratic business votes and that local residents have virtually no say in the running of the area. Bragg implies we already have democracy when we don’t. It’s also significant that the rotten borough Bragg’s being feted in is the power base from which the finance industry plots its course of state capture and tax havenry around the world. Establishing democracy in the City of London by – among other things – abolishing the business vote, would do much to curb the unchecked power of the wealthy elite’s financial lobby.

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