The latest report on the Minimum Income Standard for London focuses on households with children, what these households need for a decent standard of living in the capital, and how this compares to elsewhere in the UK. The research, funded by Trust for London, brought together groups of parents in Inner and Outer London to discuss and detail what these households need in order to have a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in 2020.
Life for many Londoners was very different in 2020 compared to previous years as a result of COVID-19, but this latest research asked groups of parents to think about and reach consensus about minimum needs in a pre-pandemic London. Further work to understand the impact of COVID-19 on minimum living standards will be undertaken in 2021.
This latest research found that:
- 4 in every 10 people living in London (41%) have an income below what is needed for a minimum standard of living. This is a well above the 29% living below this level in the UK as a whole.
- 3.6 million Londoners are living in households with inadequate incomes. Just over 1 million children in the capital are growing up in households below the Minimum Income Standard (MIS).
- In many areas of life, minimum needs and the cost of meeting these, are the same for households with children in the capital as for similar households living in other urban areas of the UK. For example, in the latest MIS UK research, parents included a monthly Netflix subscription for a single device, with streaming replacing the DVD player as a cost-effective source of family entertainment, enabling people to participate in the world around them. Groups of parents in London agreed that there has been a shift in how the need for family entertainment is met, and consequently also included this Netflix package.
- In key areas, there are differences between how minimum needs are met in London and urban areas of the UK outside the capital, and the cost of these. Housing and childcare needs are largely the same in London, but the cost of these is substantially higher in the capital. Transport needs are met in different ways in London, particularly for households with children.
- The additional costs of a minimum budget in London mean that a decent standard of living in the capital costs between 14% and 56% more. The largest difference is for single working-age adults, living alone in Inner London where the cost of housing in the private rental sector is so much higher than other urban areas in the UK.