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Update on Roman House occupation; Teach out: the City’s secret finances & lobbying activities


Having yesterday occupied Roman House, owned by Berkeley Homes –  in turn part-owned by Lloyds TSB and the Egerton Capital hedge fund – Occupy London was contacted by individual workers employed by Berkeley Homes who were concerned for their job security as it transpired they were recently employed to help renovate the building. [1]

In light of these discussions, yesterday evening it was decided to leave the building.

We trust that Berkeley Homes will ensure that their redevelopment of the site will make adequate provision for affordable housing. According to Shelter, the City only provides 6% of the affordable housing it needs, leaving it near the bottom of theLondonleague table. [2]

In the past 24 hours, the occupation of Roman House in the Barbican in the City of London focused attention, once again, on the refusal of the City ofLondonCorporation to open its accounts to full public scrutiny, a basic duty accepted by every other public authority in the country.

Response from local residents was tremendous with some coming up to occupiers to wish them support and find out more.

This Monday – Teach out examining the City’s secret finances and lobbying activities

As such, we have decided to hold our promised teach out at 11am on Monday in the open areas of the Barbican centre itself, reinvigorating that public space and enabling residents – who are outvoted by corporations in their own local council – to join in the debate about how they are governed.

The City of London Corporation maintains that its City Cash account is private so we aren’t entitled to know much about it. This assertion sits oddly with the Corporation’s public duties as as local authority – not to mention the explicit wishes of some of those who bequested some of those funds to City in the first place. [3]

This part public, part private nature of the City of London Corporation is not a harmless anachronism. It is symptomatic of a fundamental conflict of interest combined with a lack of democratic accountability.

We look forwards to exploring these, and related, issues on Monday at 11am. We will be announcing our teach-out panel shortly.


[1] Major shareholders Berkeley Group – http://www.berkeleygroup.co.uk/investor-information/major-shareholders

[2] Shelter Housing League Table 2010 – Greater London – http://localhousingwatch.org.uk/all_the_housing_data.php?r=L

[3] Hackney Preacher – Epiphany – http://hackneypreacher.com/2012/01/epiphany/


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