Foreign firms to vote in City

JAPANESE BANKS and American investment houses are to be given a vote in City of London elections in an unprecedented attempt to promote the Square Mile abroad.

The Corporation of London, the City's local authority, will introduce a Private Bill in Parliament within the next few weeks, seeking to change the law to let foreign companies vote in its elections.

John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, supports the change and the measure will be given a fair wind by the Government, so it is almost certain to become law.

The move has infuriated the Conservatives, who plan to refer the matter to Lord Neill, the Commissioner on Standards in Public life. "It is extraordinary when the Neill Committee has ruled out foreign donations to political parties that the Government wants to allow foreign companies to vote in British elections," a spokesman said.

Although partners in small firms, such as newsagents, already have a vote in City elections, the decision to extend the principle to large multinationals is far more controversial

There are 50,000 businesses in the City and the 5,500 residents fear they are being sidelined. A survey found 65 per cent opposed giving firms a vote in the election of all councillors.

Under the Corporation's plans, every business with a base in the City will be eligible to vote in elections of councilmen to the ruling Court of Common Council. Although a British or EU national would physically have to cast the vote, they would be acting on the instructions of their directors rather than as an individual.

The Corporation argues that any organisation which has property in the Square Mile should be involved in determining how it is run. It believes that this will encourage companies to invest in London, rather than Frankfurt or Paris.

Michael Cassidy, former head of the Corporation's policy committee, said: "Foreign companies are paying tax and it is a democratic principle that the people paying the tax should have a say in how it is spent."

Mr Prescott and Nick Raynsford, minister for London, are also convinced that the plan will generate investment in Britain.

Critics say the change will undermine the principle that the right to vote is accorded to people rather than property. It could also lead to moves by other local authorities to let foreign companies vote, to encourage investment from abroad.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam