The City of London is a historic financial district, home to both the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England. Modern corporate skyscrapers tower above the vestiges of medieval alleyways below. City workers and visitors frequent its smart restaurants and bars. Tourists visit iconic, 17th-century St. Paul’s Cathedral, trace the city’s history at the Museum of London and take in performances at the huge Barbican arts centre.
This Square Mile is governed by the Court of Common Council with 25 Wards represented by Common Councilmen (or Councillors) and Aldermen. Residents, City workers, charities and small businesses based in the City can register to vote in local elections.
The residential population of this small area is approximately 8,000 people. However, over 400,000 people commute into the City every day for work and over 10 million visit as tourists every year.
As a local authority the City of London Corporation is responsible for things such as cleaning, transport, licencing and services to residents. But the City Corporation also supports education, open spaces and charitable giving across London. The City has its own Police force and together with the Lord Mayor the City Corporation promotes the Square Mile in the UK and globally.
Economy and Brexit
The financial services sector contributed £75 billion in taxes in the year to March 2018. The sector employs 3.4% of the UK workforce, generating 6.6% of economic output and 10.9% of total UK tax receipts.
Following the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, the City of London Corporation has been heavily involved in ensuring the voice of financial and professional services firms is heard in helping to shape the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
The City Corporation continues to call for certainty for businesses, and is raising awareness of ‘no deal’ cliff-edge issues, including those concerning contract continuity, derivatives clearing, and data flows.
Employability and Skills
The City Corporation has a longstanding programme to support skills and employability, particularly in the City’s neighbouring boroughs to help young people access the many employment opportunities in London.
The City is the sole sponsor of a multi-academy trust, the City of London Academies Trust. The Trust currently sponsors four secondary schools (Southwark, Shoreditch Park, Highbury Grove, and Highgate Hill), and three primary schools (Redriff, Galleywall and Islington). Newham Collegiate Sixth Form joined the Trust last year.
Meeting the housing needs of the capital requires the commitment and action of all London local authorities. The City Corporation has committed to build 3,700 new homes by 2025. The City Corporation supports measures to increase the supply of housing, including further planning reforms and investment in infrastructure.
Arts, Culture and Heritage
The City Corporation has launched Culture Mile to build upon the existing arts and culture offer in the North West of the Square Mile to create a vibrant and welcoming cultural hub. The relocation of the Museum of London to West Smithfield and the development of the Centre for Music will support this initiative.
The City Corporation has classified air quality as a corporate risk. The City of London Air Quality Strategy 2015-20 contains a number of preventative measures. Tackling the issue will require a co-ordinated approach on the part of Government, the Mayor’s office, boroughs and businesses.
The City Corporation is the custodian of almost 11,000 acres of green space in and around London. This ranges from the 200 small parks and gardens in the Square Mile to large open spaces such as Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest.
The City Corporation favours greater devolution, as it enables resources to be more effectively matched to local priorities, and will enable London government to address the capital’s unique ambitions and challenges.
The City of London Police, along with its local responsibilities for the Square Mile, is the national lead force for fraud. Within its specialist Economic Crime Directorate are a number of units dedicated to tackling fraud and other economic crimes, such as counterfeiting.