London as a Global City

I didn’t write anything about the event on Monday about London as a global city.   What sticks in my mind is a double tirade from Ben Judah about, first, how middle class liberals (he excluded himself from description as a liberal) have absolutely no experience whatsoever of the impact of immigration in the working class suburbs of East London, which he described with relevant statistics, and the second is the way in which so much property in London is sold to shell companies registered in tax havens.   If the latter is true, then it surely ought to be possible to legislate against this, so that property is occupied by people, rather than left unoccupied in the ownership of foreign investment companies.   

The other thing that struck me is how simple it ought to be for the Mayor to insist on a higher level of architectural quality when big schemes like the Walkie-Talkie are called in, as the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Lottery Fund did in their early days.

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8 thoughts on “London as a Global City

  1. Indeed you are right on both counts. The first two London Mayors were equally unable to say no to developers, or even to insist they up theirs game. The jury is out on the current occupant.

  2. Dick Humphreys says:

    I fear there will be many ways for the very wealthy to get round legislation to enforce occupation.

  3. Joan says:

    The real tragedy we are seeing played out in our area (Stratford) is families who are reliant on private landlords being shunted from pillar to post. My daughter is now in Year 11 (5th form in old money). Numbers of the kids she joined school with at aged 11 have moved since starting secondary school. Here in Newham all schools, except for faith schools, take pupils on the basis of how near they live to the school. So in Yr 7 lots of the kids walked to school, could attend after school clubs, easily visit each other etc. Some of them have subsequently been forced to move to cheaper outer London boroughs such as Barking because landlords have put up rents or sold their properties because of the post Olympic/Westfield/Crossrail boom. Kids are now having tiring journeys in and can’t easily take part in after school clubs etc. These are often youngsters who are already putting in a real effort to learn English. And goodness only knows what sort of commute to work their parents are having to do.

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