The UK Gold: riveting documentary on the deep, ingrained corruption of the UK's banking centre, the City of London

Jeff writes, "Featuring a brand new soundtrack from Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Massive Attack and Elbow, and narrated by Dominic West (The Wire), journalist Marke Donne has put together a riveting documentary exposing the tax avoidance 'industry' operated by the highly secretive, centuries old institution, The City of London.

With a permanent office in Parliament, a budget of $1.2 billion and the media-avoiding tactics of the super-rich, the City relies on lobbying and silence to carry out it's offshore tax avoidance, robbing the state of tens of billions in revenue every year."

The UK Gold is a vital insight into the shady, inner workings of one of the world's financial hubs, and how the rich exert their power and influence to maintain their self-serving status quo.

From the Guardian: "This is the kind of film to get the blood boiling and the steam hissing out of your ears. Campaigning journalist Mark Donne has constructed an ambitious and admirably clear assault on the UK's lamentable record in the tax avoidance industry, zeroing in on the unsavoury role played by the City of London and its institutions -- not just in this country, but in far more desperate international territories too."

“The UK Gold” a new documentary by Brass Moustache Films

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  1. This is the only soundtrack this film needs, and it's from 1985 courtesy of Gary Clail and the ON-U Sound System. I daresay this film itself is about forty years too late....

  2. Aetius says:

    I had to laugh at this characterization: "highly secretive, centuries old institution, The City of London". Um, you mean the local council? There's nothing secretive about it, and they don't have an "office" in Parliament, but rather a member of Parliament. In other words, the City of London is a government entity. I'm sure there is deep, ingrained corruption, but that's true of every government, and not very remarkable.

  3. miasm says:

    I had to laugh at your extremely facile and transparent attempt to ameliorate the illegal and ruinous activities undertaken by the largest criminal organisation in the UK.

  4. They probably were referring not to an MP but rather the Remembrancer. According to the City's website:

    The Office [of Remembrancer] acts as a channel of communication between Parliament and the City. In the contemporary context, this means day to day examination of Parliamentary business including examination of and briefing on proposed legislation and amendments to it, regular liaison with the Select Committees of both Houses and contact with officials in Government departments dealing with Parliamentary Bills. Liaison is also maintained with the City Office in Brussels and other Member States’ permanent representations in relation to draft EU legislation.

    Over the last millennium the City has accumulated other special privileges like being allowed to set its own business rate "at a higher or lower level than the National Non-Domestic Rate determined by central government for the rest of the country," and allowing businesses to vote.

  5. nor does it have a budget of $1.2 billion, nor anything like it.

    Well, there is the City’s Cash, which is "not governed by any statutes or regulations and there is no statutory requirement to publish the City’s Cash annual report and financial statements." The non-required annual report goes on to state that as of March 2013 it had net assets worth ₤1.8 billion. Of course, that's not the same thing as an operating budget. If I'm reading the summary budget right the City this year has about ₤550 in revenue and ₤555 million in expenses.

    All proposed legislation (or Bills as they are better known) are available on the Parliament website for anybody, anywhere in the world to view for free.

    Yes, anyone can read the Hansard and other business online. I suspect not everyone gets to regularly meet face-to-face with Select Committees and department officials, which is explicitly described as a duty of the Remembrancer on page 76 of the above-mentioned summary budget. In my general experience direct, personal contact with legislators is something valuable enough for people to spend large sums of money to get.

    Up until the 1980s all principal councils in England and Wales set their own business rate.

    And now they don't, except for the City. The City's own website describes their current situation as "unique".

    It is an Urban Myth that businesses can vote. See my comment on a previous doctorow post:

    Would that be the post where you say "15,581 [voters] are either appointees of businesses (or institutions such as churches, charities and educational establishments) or they are sole traders or members of partnerships."? Because that sounds quite a bit like businesses voting. I will cop to technical imprecision in that businesses don't directly vote but instead nominate employees to do so.

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