Traditionally November is a busy month in the City year as it includes the change of Lord Mayor and seemingly lots of other Masters being installed and business conferences taking place.
A consistent strand of my work is around philanthropy – both promoting good practice and impact and encouraging more giving. This month has seen two reports and a conference on that topic, all of which I have participated in. I consider that philanthropy is a force for good and that in working with funds alongside business and local or national government significant impact can be made on communities and need. The first event was the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Philanthropy and Social Investment at which the MP Co-Chairs Rushanara Ali and Danny Kruger spoke and launched a new report, Unleashing the Potential of Philanthropy and Social Investment. https://www.philanthropy-impact.org/sites/default/files/user-uploads/appg-report-final_02_11_22.pdf The report proposes policy changes to embed the power of giving and unleash the potential of the £100 billion in the sector. A sister report launched by the Individual Impact Investing Commission analysed the current ecosystem for giving and the barriers persisting and impact of creating a more supportive environment. The UK is 4th in the league table of donors internationally and if we individually gave the same percentage per person as, say, New Zealand then our total giving would increase per annum by £5 billion. https://www.beaconcollaborative.org.uk/enabling-an-ecosystem-that-supports-increased-impact-investing-by-those-with-private-wealth/ The last day of the month sees an important conference in Guildhall by The Beacon Collaborative (where I am a trustee) and will explore the role that philanthropy can play in today’s society, with important discussions to feed back to add to the reports already making waves across the sector. There is a real momentum in this movement.
Another key concern for me is the light pollution that spills across the City and is an affront as many are struggling to heat and light their homes whilst businesses seem to be profligate in the light spillage that also harms the flora and fauna of our biodiversity ecosystem. The view from my flat at 5.45am shows how much is lit up and not being used. I have raised the point with the Corporation and am pleased that a new planning policy for new buildings and a voluntary charter for existing buildings is about to go out for consultation. This aligns with my continuing work on climate and environmental issues. However, I did enjoy helping turn on the Christmas Lights at Leadenhall Market which are festive and fun...and temporary!
These past few weeks have also seen me visiting the first net zero carbon Church in the City and the Tideway Super Sewer – see the earlier blogs on these topics. The Livery Climate Action Group is holding a seminar on Responsible Offsetting on 29th November, and we have two great speakers and over 125 people signed up to listen. The Livery engagement is growing in numbers and in depth of engagement with real energy being given to make a difference in our carbon footprint.
I was pleased to visit the new Museum of London site in Smithfield as a Governor of the Museum and see the cavernous depths ready to be refurbished and used for this amazing new Museum space. November also saw the planning consent granted for the new Museum https://news.cityoflondon.gov.uk/plans-approved-to-create-new-museum-for-london-and-regenerate-smithfield/. The works are continuing. Separately to the use by the Museum of the space that has not largely be used as a market for over 20 years, the City Corporation is also planning to move Smithfield and Billingsgate wholesale markets to a new site and bespoke building in Barking. As the Markets are run under Royal Charter a Private Bill needs to be passed by Parliament to authorise the move and that Bill must be deposited by 28th November. The process is quite involved but the plans are now ready to be pressed forward.
Every Alderman is proud of his or her own Ward and my Ward of Dowgate enjoys a close relationship with Vintry Ward in that we have a joint Vintry and Dowgate Wards Club. Our Civic Lunch on 31st October in Vintners’ Hall was a great event with the Lord Mayor in attendance. The Club is well supported by the local businesses such as Nomura, CCLA and the CBI as well as the Livery Companies in the Ward with my Ward Beadle John Cash acting as Toastmaster.
The City’s formal events were exceptionally busy with the Lord Mayor’s Show and associated events. The Lord Mayor’s Banquet follows on 28th November, and I am sure that Nick Lyons will make everyone welcome and will set out his challenging programme for the year ahead. He has already hosted a State Banquet for the President of South Africa and the City showed how adept it is at making a very complicated and high-profile event look effortless. I stood in for the Lord Mayor at the Institute of Export and International Trade graduation ceremony in the Mansion House. As I said in my speech international trade is central to what the City Corporation does and so it was fitting to hold the ceremony in the Mansion House that was built on the trade of centuries past. That continues today in all we seek to do.