20 May 2015
A third of Londoners unable to afford a decent standard of living, research from Loughborough University reveals
New research from Loughborough University shows 1 in 3 Londoners are struggling to afford basic needs and achieve a decent standard of living.
The research, conducted by the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP), is the first to look in detail at the minimum additional costs of living in the capital. The data, funded by independent charity Trust for London, shows that it costs between 20% and up to 50% more for various types of household to reach a minimum decent standard of living in London than elsewhere in the country. This is because of additional costs, particularly housing, transport and childcare.
Compared to the rest of the UK, the research shows:
- A minimum budget for a single working-age adult is 47% higher in inner London and 35% higher in outer London. This is largely driven by high housing costs, which in inner London make up almost half the living costs for a single person
- A minimum budget for a couple with two children is 23% more in inner London and 22% more in outer London. This is influenced by the high cost of childcare
- A minimum budget for a pensioner couple is 32% more in inner London and 19% in outer London. This is driven by rent and the additional cost of social activities.
While one in three Londoners overall fall below the Minimum Income Standard (MIS), this varies greatly across groups:
- More than four in 10 people (43%) in families with children are below the standard
- A quarter of working-age adults without children (26%) are below MIS
- Nearly one in five pensioners (18%) do not meet the standard.
The figures for MIS come from detailed discussions among people who live in the capital and feedback on what they themselves say is needed to lead a decent life. The minimum includes food, shelter and clothing and items such as being able to buy a child’s birthday present or a cheap meal out up to twice a month to maintain friendships and work relationships. By far the biggest costs come from housing, transport and childcare. Since 2008, all these costs have risen sharply in London: social rents by more than a third, childcare costs by nearly two-thirds and public transport fares by a quarter. Over the same period, average earnings have risen by only 10%.
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