London living proving too expensive for many. By Sam Tobin
EXORBITANT rents and stunted wages are leaving 3.5 million Londoners without enough money to meet their basic needs, Loughborough University research published today shows.
The number falling short of a minimum level of living in London has increased by 400,000 since 2010, researchers found.
Private rents rose by 7.2 per cent in London between 2014 and 2016, double that in the rest of Britain, while the cost of letting “cheaper” properties has gone up four times as much as the rest of Britain.
And the minimum wage increase to £7.20 an hour for over-25s hasn’t helped, with high costs of living meaning single adults are actually worse off than before the rise, despite a benefit outside the city.
Two out of five Londoners now cannot afford a decent standard of living, compared
with less than a third for whole UK, the Trust for London-commissioned research found.
Shadow housing minister Andy Slaughter said: “This is a timely reminder that the growing national housing crisis is entrenched and endemic in London, and that the government is doing next to nothing to resolve it. Indeed in many ways it is making it worse.
“For those on the [independently calculated] London living wage of £9.75 an hour, the only type of housing that is affordable in London is housing association or council rented property but both are under attack from right-to-buy and forced sale schemes.”
Trust for London director of policy and grants Mubin Haq said: “While the [minimum wage rise] provided a welcome boost to incomes, this was outweighed by huge increases in private rents, particularly in properties at the cheapest end of the market.
“We need more employers paying a London living wage, joining the thousands of accredited employers who already pay it and we need action on costs, especially more genuinely affordable housing.”
Child Poverty Action Group chief executive Alison Garn- ham said the report “lifts the veil” on what ordinary families are up against.
“More than one million London children do not have a decent living standard. By any other name that’s a crisis.”