Boris Johnson says super-wealthy should stop buying ‘schlosses in the home counties’

16:09 24 September 2013

Boris Johnson with Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, at the launch of the Mayors Challenge in Europe at City Hall. Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Boris Johnson with Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, at the launch of the Mayors Challenge in Europe at City Hall. Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

London Mayor Boris Johnson has urged the super-wealthy in Britain to give more to philanthropic causes.

Mr Johnson, who made the comment at the launch of a competition to inspire European cities to generate ideas to improve city life, encouraged US-style charitable giving by the wealthy.

He said attitudes were changing in London and he had seen some “amazing” acts of philanthropy across the city, but that too often those who amassed “colossal wealth” chose to buy a “grouse moor” or “schlosses in the home counties” rather than giving to good causes.

Mr Johnson said: “There is still something in Britain that regards giving on a huge scale as being somehow ostentatious. That is ridiculous, that is absolutely ridiculous.

“The sooner people get over their lust for buying great schlosses in the home counties or indeed a grouse moor and give to great causes in London, the better.”

Mr Johnson was speaking at the news conference for the launch of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge, which was attended by Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York.

The competition will award five million euros (£4.2million) for the main prize-winner and one million for four additional cities that come up with the best ideas to improve city life.

Mr Johnson said he believed Britain faced “cultural” obstacles to increasing philanthropic giving by the wealthy.

“What they really want to do when they have amassed colossal wealth in Britain, what they like to do, is buy the biggest possible house they can, with the most colossal grouse moor they can find and then try in some desperate way to perpetuate it .. and pass it on to their children for some unknown reason,” he said.

“In America, they have a very different attitude, they believe that if you have made a lot of money you should do something for society.”

Mr Johnson described Mr Bloomberg as “one of the great philanthropists of our age”.

The two mayors were joined at the news conference at City Hall for the launch of the scheme by the Mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, and Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi.

The competition invites leaders of European cities with 100,000 residents or more to submit their city’s “boldest idea”. Around 600 cities around Europe are eligible to apply, according to the award organisers.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Monday, March 30, 2015
Can you guess which politicians make up these coalition lovechildren?

As the election draws near, there’s been lots of talk about another coalition, which got us thinking: What would it look like if Boris Johnson and Ed Miliband had a baby?

Monday, March 30, 2015
The five-and-a-half-week general election campaign kicks off today (Pic: Getty Images)

The general election campaign kicked off this morning with David Cameron warning voters they face a “stark choice” after five years of coalition government.

Friday, March 20, 2015
With the election coverage reaching fever picth here are some interesting things you may have missed (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

In amongst all the political rhetoric, endless polling and debate about having debates there’s plenty of interesing things you might have missed about the General Election. That’s why we’re here to fill you in:

Friday, March 20, 2015
Check out our guide to making sure you can cast your vote on May 7 (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Whether you’re a first-time voter or you’ve just not got round to it yet – our handy guide to voting will help you make sure you don’t miss out on the chance to make your voice count.

Thursday, March 19, 2015
The letter from Sarah Sackman - clearly signed off as MP for Finchley and Golders Green

When trying to win an election confidence in your ability is key - but signing off letters as MP despite the election still being 50 days away is probably a bit presumptuous.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
(Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

The three chancellors George Osborne, Ed Balls and Danny Alexander took scrambled to get their hands on bank notes today during a Crystal Dome cash grab.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Munch on a tasy three course dinner at The Refinery!

“Where to go for a drink near Great Portland Street?” was previously met with blank expressions and shrugs for those local to the area, not anymore, thanks to the opening of The Refinery at Regent’s Place, the eighth bar and restaurant from hugely-successful group Drake & Morgan.

Read more