Where does the City’s money go?
26 March, 2020
‘If you are on the national minimum wage, £4 to swim in ponds is a big deal’
• IN response to Richard Turpin, former city corporation employee, Hampstead Heath is not as he asserts, a “loss-making enterprise”; that makes it sound like some stock market, cash-hungry technology stock, (Safety is put at risk, March 19).
Rather it is social capital deliberately founded to ensure the Heath and its ponds are unenclosed and free for the people, the poorest of us, in particular. That is what s12 of the Hampstead Heath Act 1871 means.
Mr Turpin is inaccurate on a number of other scores. Hampstead Heath is not a “park” and leisure swimming is not a “sport” and never has been.
It is not a “couple” of pounds that City wants for a swim in a pond but four. If you are on the national minimum wage, with only 30 hours work a week (many get less), that is a big deal, as well as enclosure of the ponds.
The “honesty box” thing is slur, invented to hide the incompetence of the Heath’s management.
The city corporation controls and directs £2.7 billion of inherited, (they did not create it) untaxed, charitable funds. The ponds annual budget represents a mere 0.0001 per cent of that figure. Where does the money go?
As a former employee, if he is a pensioner, he will know that the biggest chunk is to plug the corporation’s own “gold-plated” pension scheme’s significant deficit.
Next, millions for fee-paying, mainly private, education (in effect subsidising parents) at schools under the patronage of the corporation’s largely undemocratic, aldermanic City government and finally, to “City Representation”, which basically means formal parties (for the wealthy) and dressing up.
All in the spirit of Versailles.
Such is his “charitable organisation” rich and powerful and we, its individual, democratic, critics, “bullying” in pursuit of “personal gain?”
Does that sound believable to you, dear reader?
ROBERT SUTHERLAND SMITH
Chairman United Swimmers Association