City of London Response to the Times: City not a 'State within a State'
Readers of Saturday’s page 18 interview with Richard Murphy in the Times should note that City businesses in the Square Mile, far from forming a ‘state within a state’ are subject to all UK laws and regulations.
While the elected Lord Mayor does indeed hold a protocol rank equivalent to cabinet minister when travelling overseas at the head of business delegations, HM the Queen certainly does not need permission to visit the Square Mile.
Far from being separate, City industries are an integral part of the wider UK, accounting for 7% of regional employment, two million jobs UK-wide and £66.6 billion of the UK tax pot.
FAQ – Five misconceptions about the Square Mile around St Paul’s, London.
1. The City operate as state within a state/off-shore. No - all firms based in the Square Mile are subject to UK laws and regulations and the City of London Corporation plays no role in running regulation or setting tax rates.
2. HM Queen needs permission to visit. No - the Queen visits freely.
3. Freemen can drive sheep across London Bridge. Exemption from bridge tolls was once a privilege but no longer.
4. The Lord Mayor sits in Cabinet. No - but does have an equivalent rank when leading business delegations overseas.
5. Lord Mayor Dick Whittington is a myth. No – Dick Whittington served four times as Lord Mayor, was a leading merchant in the late middle ages and donated large sums to charity.