A Minimum Income Standard for London
Households in London face special challenges making ends meet. Costs such as housing, transport and childcare are different from the rest of the United Kingdom. The way Londoners live is also distinctive, most obviously in how they travel and in accommodation patterns, but also in ways such as shopping and leisure.
At the same time, a higher proportion of Londoners have relatively low incomes than any other region in the country. Measures of poverty in London are able to take account of low income, and to a limited extent of certain costs such as higher rents or mortgages, but provide an incomplete picture of the different costs faced by households in London compared to elsewhere in the United Kingdom. This is because there is no evidenced description of what it means to have a minimum acceptable living standard particular to living in London.
In 2015, CRSP published the first Minimum Income Standard for London which outlined the amount that different types of household, in Inner and Outer London, require in order to reach an acceptable standard of living as defined by members of the public. Based on the Minimum Income Standard (MIS), the research drew on a range of data about costs in London, but at its heart were the detailed discussions with groups of Londoners about what goods and services households need to be able to buy, and how this differs from what people require in the rest of the UK.
In 2016/2017, we returned to London to undertake detailed discussions with groups of parents living in Inner and Outer London. These groups, comprising eight to ten members of the public, were tasked with reviewing the additional or different requirements parents and children in London have compared to people in the rest of the UK. A Minimum Income Standard for London 2016/17 showed that the cost of a minimum socially acceptable standard of living was between 18% and 56% more in London compared to the rest of the UK, and that these additional costs faced by Londoners are largely the result of the higher price of housing, childcare and transport in the capital. These costs combine to make the capital a more expensive place to live, meaning Londoners need more than those living outside of London in order to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.
In 2018, we again returned to London to undertake discussions with groups of working-age adults without children and single and partnered pensioners, in Inner and Outer London, who were tasked with reviewing the additional or different requirements working-age adults in London have compared to people in the rest of the UK. A Minimum Income Standard for London 2018 shows that the cost of a decent standard of living in London is between 15% and 60% more than in other urban areas in the UK, and that one in four Londoners are living in a household with have an income below what is needed to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.
In 2020, we will return to London to review what is needed for a minimum standard of living with groups of parents.