Outrage at ‘lavish’ spending by City of London Corporation

Labour calls for reform as figures show £4m spent on independent schools and hundreds of thousands on luxury dining and alcohol.

The secretive local authority that runs London’s Square Mile has come under fire for “lavish” spending – including subsidising its own members’ club and supporting a trio of private schools – at a time when funding for vital public services has been slashed - writes theguardian.com.

The Labour party said the City of London Corporation was now in “desperate need of reform” after figures obtained by theObserverdetailed spending on a luxurious dining club and bar, grace-and-favour accommodation and multimillion-pound support for elite schools.

Current and former councillors can enjoy the privilege of using the Guildhall Club – offering heavily subsidised fine dining and a bar where spirits cost just 60p a measure. More than £200,000 has recently been set aside for a refurbishment of the club, where catering and bar costs came in at more than half a million pounds last year, partly offset by income from private events.

Other spending by the corporation for the most recent year has included £576,000 for banquets and other hospitality provided by the lord mayor and lunches for judges at the Old Bailey. An even larger chunk of spending over the same period included more than £4m given to three elite independent schools in Surrey and London, dwarfing the £556,000 spent on five City academies.

The money comes from a controversial fund known as “City Cash” – a combination of funds and endowments built up over centuries. The corporation has doggedly resisted opening up the fund to scrutiny, only providing basic details some years ago after facing pressure over its use for lobbying for the financial sector.

However, a new generation of young councillors at the corporation has begun to press for reform, while the body faces the potential for radical change should Labour take power soon. The party’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has described the corporation as a “rotten borough” which should be abolished.

Andrew Gwynne, the shadow communities and local government secretary, said: “This lavish spending does little to challenge claims that the City corporation is little more than an ‘old boys’ club’, instead of being an authority committed to providing services to residents and workers. The City resisted the changes that established democratic local government in the rest of the country, and now it is in desperate need for reform.”

Thomas Anderson, a recently elected councillor on the corporation and a Labour member, warned that the body needed to show it reflected the diversity and modern working practices of the City if it was going to be taken seriously on issues such as Brexit. “We are accountable to the people who live and work here, and I just can’t believe they would be happy with elected councillors enjoying three-course lunches and subsidised claret while we have been cutting services,” he said.

On the funding for the elite schools – the City of London school, City of London school for girls and the City of London freemen’s school – Anderson said: “I am simply unable to justify to my electors that we run, sponsor and subsidise these three private schools to the tune of several million pounds every year. This money belongs to all Londoners, and there are much better ways it could be spent.”

Members are also increasingly concerned about the lack of diversity in a body that is supposed to represent the interests of the City’s multiracial workforce. Munsur Ali, a film-maker and a councillor for one of the most deprived and multi-ethnic wards in the City, said: “It’s no secret that the we need more people from BAME [black, Asian, and minority ethnic] groups as well as working class backgrounds to join the corporation. But unlike other councils the City does not offer remuneration, which isn’t a problem if you’re on a high salary or pension but very challenging if you are in a low-paid job.”

The corporation said: “We already work positively and constructively with the Labour Treasury team and front bench to create jobs and growth in the UK.

“We are working closely with Labour local authorities in London to build 3,700 new homes and give pupils in some of the capital’s poorest areas world-class state education in top-performing academy schools. We are confident whichever party forms the government after the next election will continue to work with us to build a thriving and diverse capital.”

In terms of its overall spending, the corporation has cut its statutory services by 2% a year in nominal terms, a significant reduction at a time when inflation has been running at 3%. Other cuts have been felt by the City of London police force, which is funded by the corporation, at a time when it has been facing a heightened terrorist risk. Some of the first responders to the London Bridge terror attacks this year were from the force.

The force is implementing what the corporation describes as a “challenging savings plan”, while previous cuts have resulted in a 14% decrease in the number of police officers in the City and £16m being slashed from the budget.

Read more news of London on our site.

London Localgovernment Financialsector news
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in august
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Лучшее - городу
Каждому городу Казахстана свой полезный сайт! Теперь мы освещаем новости шести крупных городов Казахстана - Караганды, Шымкента, Атырау, Актау, Алматы и Астаны.  Сегодня информационная картинка дня в Казахстане в большей мере состоит из новостей двух столиц. Национальные медиа массивно освещают новости из здания парламента, а городские новости представлены только громкими происшествиями или вопиющими случаями. Городские же сайты создают локальную повестку...
An EE customer has said she was stalked by an ex-partner who worked at the firm, after he accessed her personal data without permission. Francesca Bonafede's number was switched to a new handset and her address and bank details were accessed. She said the company failed to take the data breach seriously and she had to involve police. EE "sincerely apologised" to Ms Bonafede, and said the employee no longer worked for the company. 'They didn't seem concerne...
West Ham say they have handed over all of their evidence to the police after completing a "thorough and immediate" investigation into racist abuse shouted at Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. The incident happened during Monday's 1-1 draw at London Stadium. Egypt striker Salah, 26, was filmed on a mobile phone from a section of home supporters as he was taking a corner. "The club is unequivocal in its stance - such abuse will not be tolerated," West Ham said in a...
A body seen in the wreckage of the plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been recovered, investigators said. Remotely operated Vehicles (ROVs) were used in ‘challenging conditions’ to pull the body out of the water ‘in as dignified a way as possible’ the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said on Wednesday night. The body is being taken to Portland to be passed over to the Dorset coroner for examination, t...
The US president, who has repeatedly criticised the military alliance, would meet with heads of state in London, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday. It would be Mr Trump's second visit to Britain since his election, having jetted in amid swathes of protest last July. I am pleased to announce that allies have agreed that the next meeting of Nato heads of state and government will take place in London in December 2019. The meeting...
Rolf Harris was jailed for five years and nine months in 2014 but released on licence in May 2017 Credit: PA Officials are investigating a report that disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris walked onto the grounds of a primary school and waved at pupils. The convicted sex offender went onto the premises of Oldfield Primary School near his home in Bray, Maidenhead, to talk to a sculptor working in the grounds, the Daily Mirror reported. Harris, who was jailed fo...
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a teenager was stabbed to death. Police and London Ambulance Service were called to Wolsey Court, off Westbridge Road in Battersea, at 7.52pm on Tuesday following reports of a stabbing. A 19-year-old man was found with stab injuries and died at the scene at 8.36pm despite paramedics battling to save his life. The stabbing took place less than half a mile from Prince George's primary school, Thomas's B...
The girl, who has been named Roman by nurses, was found at around 10pm on Thursday in the park in Roman Road in East Ham.  Police said Roman was wrapped in a white towel and placed in the shopping bag on the ground next to a bench in the small children's play park.  The baby was rushed to hospital where she was in a stable condition on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police said.  Roman was discovered by grandmother-of-one Rima Zvaliauskiene, 50, just 100...
The operation to recover the doomed plane carrying Emiliano Sala off Guernsey could be hampered by days of poor weather as the man brought in by the footballer's family to find him said he could be in the wreckage. The English Channel is being battered by torrential ran, 40mph winds and 10ft waves with the poor conditions set to continue - and worsen - until the end of the week, MailOnline can reveal today. The families of the £15million striker and his pi...