Outrage at ‘lavish’ spending by City of London Corporation

The Guardian reports that 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.

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

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.

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.”

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.”

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