City guest lists should be more diverse

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At the Court of Common Council meeting in September, I addressed the City’s embarrassingly poor record of inviting BAMEs and white people from less affluent backgrounds to social events financed by City Cash, the City’s primary endowment fund. No wonder everyone in the City says that our elected representatives are out of touch with hard-working people.

In my speech, I used the example of the 2016 Sheriff’s Breakfast, an event which celebrates the two newly elected Sheriffs of the City of London taking office. I was very fortunate to attend this event, but only after making a considerable donation to the shrieval chains.

At the event, the lack of diversity amongst the 235 or so guests really struck me. I found it particularly troubling that only five guests were from an ethnic minority background, with two of those guests being members of the House of Lords.

To make matters worse, I ascertained that only a few, if any, white guests were from middle and lower socio-economic backgrounds.

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It cannot be deemed appropriate that an endowment fund, earmarked with the intention of funding activities used for the “benefit of London as a whole” (according to the Corporation’s website), is instead being used to subsidise events for the benefit of the upper echelons of the City’s elite.

Furthermore, it is unacceptable that in the current day and age, where 32% of the City’s workforce are born outside of the UK and 21% are of BAME origin, that these events celebrating the best traditions of the City exhibit such poor diversity.

To rectify this appalling state of affairs, the City needs to step up its efforts to increase diversity at key events in the calendar. For my own part, I will be petitioning for more BAMEs, women and working-class, white residents from Portsoken to be invited to key events funded by City Cash, including the Sheriff’s breakfast.

The City should act swiftly to address this diversity imbalance, or they risk alienating not only the City’s hardworking diverse workforce, but also diverse and working class white people residing in wards across the City.  It is time to get in touch with people who City leaders were elected to represent.