As the City is cautiously re-emerging from lockdown we wanted to touch base with you to update you on our work as elected representatives during the last few weeks, and to see if there is anything we can do to help you.
In this newsletter you can find updates on:
- Black Lives Matter
- Support for small businesses
During the Covid-19 lockdown all meetings in the City Corporation have gone virtual to ensure we continue to discuss key issues, provide democratic scrutiny and take important decisions on how to shape our City going forward.
There are challenges ahead no doubt, but as the Economist recently concluded Cities remain invaluable as places where people can build networks and learn how to collaborate.
We are determined to ensure the City of London will continue to play its role as a global hub for business, creativity and culture.
Black Lives Matter
We have all reflected on recent events in the US, the UK and around the world. Speaking to friends and colleagues we’ve discussed the importance for the City Corporation as institution (and employer) and as elected representatives in the City of London to listen and to act. As Michelle Obama says: “It’s up to all of us – black, white, everyone – no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting [racism] out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion and empathy, that manifests in our lives and on our streets.”
We cannot escape the fact that the history and wealth of the UK, and indeed the City of London, is intertwined with the abhorrent practice of the slave trade.
As your elected representatives we believe we should look at our history and reflect, but most of all we should look at our actions now. We therefore fully support the Black Lives Matters statement from the Lord Mayor and the Policy Chair, and their recognition that “it is not enough to say we are against racism but we have to work to eradicate all forms of racism in all that we do.”
In response the City Corporation has set up a new working group to consider what we are doing to tackle racism in all its forms. This group should be set up this month and consider concrete actions to be implemented at speed.
The Tackling Racism Working Party will assess whether the City Corporation could take any further action to promote economic, educational and social inclusion. It will also consider how to respond to historical issues, such as statues and monuments.
Changes for cyclists, shoppers and drivers in the City of London
The City of London Corporation is ramping up its transport recovery plan, designed to ensure the gradual and safe return of people who work, live and visit the Square Mile. This work is led by Ward of Cheap Councillor Alastair Moss as Chair of the City’s Planning and Transportation Committee.
The initiative is primarily based on walking, cycling and the managed use of public transport in order to provide the space needed to comfortably and safely maintain social distancing on City streets. The initiative will remain adaptable to changing circumstances with the measures able to be scaled up or down as required. It will also take into account access for disabled people.
What are the changes?
- Timed closures to motor vehicles, mostly 7am –7pm, allowing limited access to premises for people with access needs, deliveries and servicing
- Reallocation of carriageway to space for walking, queuing and cycling and priority for buses
- Closing streets to through traffic or other changes in operation, eg switching to one-way
Where will the changes be?
The following streets have been selected for Phase 1 based on pedestrian numbers, pavement widths, cycling demand and connections to destinations, retail and transport hubs:
- Cannon Street (between Queen Victoria Street and Monument junction)
- Cheapside and Poultry
- Old Jewry and Coleman Street
- Lombard Street
- Leadenhall Street and St Mary Axe
- Threadneedle Street and Old Broad Street
Support for small businesses
SMEs make up about 40% of employment in the City, ranging from sandwich bars to the consultancy firms. Many SMEs can be vulnerable as result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We have raised several issues with the City Corporation, and where possible tried to help SMEs in our Ward. If you are a business owner or working in a SME and have any questions don’t hesitate to let us know.
Support from City Corporation has included:
- Financial (rent relief, rate relief)
- Information and signposting to government advice, business representative organisations or through the Corporation directly
- Lobbying both at the London level and nationally on areas such as rateable values, eligibility to the support, furlough scheme
- Responding to individual enquiries on payment plans
- Representing SMEs views on TFL
- Support through Heart of the City. Check out re-launched website including expert-resources free to all to use: https://theheartofthecity.com/covid-19/
Invitation to Zoom talk “Will the City ever be the same after Covid-19?” (24 June)
Guest speaker Chris Haywood, Sheriff of the City of London, Deputy Chair of the City’s Policy and Resources Committee, former Chair of the Planning & Transportation Committee
The City of London throughout its history has been a dynamic, ever changing City, a strength, which has enabled it to weather crisis and emerge stronger.
Before COVID-19 the City was evolving in an unprecedented way, with a shift change in working practices, an emphasis on health and wellbeing, climate change resilience and sustainability informing new developments and a radical Transport Strategy delivering a pedestrian priority City and also encouraging cycling.
The aftermath and implications of COVID-19 is being vigorously debated at the moment and speculation is rife. The debate will continue but it is clear that COVID-19 could serve as a catalyst to deliver the radical change, which was already happening in the City. Chris Hayward will explain how the City’s strength is its adaptability and that it is perfectly placed to move beyond the current pandemic to ensure a bright and sustainable long-term future for the City.
The Ward of Cheap Club is also organising a virtual ‘Beating the Bounds’ on Wednesday 1 July 2020 from 6 – 7.30pm. The Rev’d Canon David Parrott will take us around a historic tour of the Ward (and our boundaries!) with photos followed by a virtual Toast and chance to catch up. You can email us to register.
Invitation to Mansion House breakfast (2 July)
City Giving Day is The Lord Mayor’s Appeal’s annual celebration of philanthropy and giving in the City, which provides a great opportunity to reflect on everything that City organisations are doing for local communities and charities. This year it will be more important than ever, as many charities and organisations are finding that their funding is being impacted and will be reliant on businesses and organisations being able to support them as much as possible.
We were due to hold a City Giving Day engagement breakfast at Mansion House on Thursday 2nd July, but as with our last breakfast in May, this will now be a virtual session. During the session The Lord Mayor’s Appeal team and the other speakers will be providing hints and tips as to how organisations can get together both physically and virtually to celebrate City Giving Day 2020.
If you would like to join us for the breakfast and find out more about this year’s event, please email us.