City of London Cash Crunch

Years of forecast deficits for the City Fund caused partly by policing costs and uncertain funding from central government mean that the corporation is embarking on a “fundamental review of its priorities and expenditure” in an attempt to put its finances on a more stable footing, according to a report by Jeremy Mayhew, head of the corporation’s finance committee.

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‘Sir’ Michael Snyder, The City of London & Crossrail

The Crossrail deal struck between the Corporation of London when it saw headed by ‘Sir’ Michael Snyder and the 2007 Labour government highlights the blurring between the corporation’s two roles, that of a local authority with public funds and a lobbying body with even larger private funds. An internal corporation document presented to councillors in October 2007 stated that, “there would be a number of pre-conditions to be satisfied before funding was released”. One of these was “a net real terms improvement in government funding of the City Corporation”. The corporation wanted the government to reinstate a fund known as the “City Offset” “The City Offset was re-instated… in 2007 following representations from the City of London Corporation,” said a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government… This means the corporation could end up recouping all of the money it is contributing to Crossrail. As the internal corporation document states, if the extra government funding to the corporation continued for fifteen years, “the eventual adverse impact on our asset base would be £15m or less”. Given that Crossrail inflates the value of lands owned by the corporation adjacent to it and the extra funding could continue for more than 15 years, the City potentially stood to make a great deal of money from this deal.

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The City of London, House Building Targets & Business Votes

Following the Occupy London protests in 2012, the Corporation released information about “City’s Cash”—the “sovereign wealth fund” stemming from the 15th century. Over 52 percent of its reserve in that year came from investments, with 29 percent from school fees, 8 percent from rent, and 9 percent from grants, contributions and reimbursements. By 2016 its assets stood at £2.3 billion, generating £210 million yearly. The 2018-23 Corporate Plan cynically insists “everything we do contributes toward the achievement of twelve outcomes.” Those listed include: “People have equal opportunities to enrich their lives and reach their full potential” and to “Help provide homes that London and Londoner’s need.” The City of London actually devotes its main energies to furthering the inequality that produces untold misery and hardship.

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The Last Rotten Borough Revisited

The Corporation of London has rarely come under serious scrutiny since 1960 when a royal commission on local government in Greater London considered in great detail whether the ancient body could and should continue as a separate local authority. Sadly, its conclusion was feeble: “If we were to be strictly logical we should recommend the amalgamation of the City and Westminster. But logic has its limits and the position of the City lies outside them.”

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Diversity & Freemasonry At The City of London Council

The way in which men only freemasonic groups impact upon diversity within the City of London Corporation is disturbing. To date there have been 688 Lord Mayors who were men and 2 who were women. Since the founding of the Guildhall Lodge in 1905, 78 Lord Mayors of London have belonged to this men only freemasonic group. So over the past 113 years at least 69.03% of Lord Mayors of London have been masons, whereas 1.77% have been women. Although well under 1% of the English population are masons, members of the brotherhood have a better chance of becoming Lord Mayor of London than non-masons; and women who aren’t allowed to join influential all male lodges are largely excluded from such leadership roles.

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City of London’s Neo-Liberal Politics Puts Londoners’ Housing Needs Last

Those familiar with the City of London council will not be surprised by the news that after landing a huge grant from the Mayor of London’s housing investment scheme, it has quietly dropped its plan to build 3700 new council homes by 2025. Likewise it would be silly to take at all seriously the claim: “The corporation said its budget for building new homes had come under pressure…” The modest size of this ‘pressured’ budget is a political decision; the Corporation could cease spending the millions in interest generated by its City’s Cash sovereign wealth fund on lobbying for neo-liberal economic policies and instead use the money for house building. However this is unlikely to happen until there is democratic reform of the local authority and the council chamber ceases to be controlled by undemocratic business votes.

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The City of London Electoral Farce Rolls On!

The fact that a Lib-Dem such as Patrick Streeter and Labour Party candidates function as anti-establishment figures within the City of London says a lot about the cosy and anti-democratic political set-up in this rotten borough. Another indication of what’s wrong is the fact that Karina Robinson has been openly campaigning to become Candlewick alderman prior to there being any official announcement of the election on the City of London council website. Knowing in advance of the rest of us exactly when elections are coming up gives insiders and establishment figures yet more anti-democratic advantages.

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