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Work alone no solution to London's poverty

The Chief Executive of Trust for London, which commissioned the research has called on policymakers to tackle the issues by building more affordable housing and employers to pay a Living Wage.

Work on its own is not a solution to London's poverty because of the growing number of low-paid jobs. The majority of working-age adults and children in poverty are now in families that work. Londoners are trying hard but are getting stuck; with many being impacted by high housing costs, low pay and limited career progression.

London's economy may be doing better than the rest of the country but that obscures the fact it has the highest poverty rate.

– Bharat Mehta, Chief Executive of Trust for London


13 of 19 outer boroughs unaffordable on housing benefit

Housing benefit will no longer cover private renting costs for many families Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Housing benefit will no longer cover the housing costs of private renting, workless families with 3 or more children anywhere in London.

For low-income single adults without children, a third of London's boroughs (34%) are unaffordable under the welfare reforms.

Demand for the cheapest properties means that even 13 of London's 19 outer boroughs are unaffordable for families reliant on housing benefit.

1 in 5 Londoners paid less than London Living Wage

The main findings of the report looking at the circumstances of the 2.1 million people who are living in poverty in London are:

  • 58% of those in poverty live in Outer London (10 years ago it was 50%)
  • For the first time there are more private renters in poverty than social renters
  • 43% (830,000) of people in the private rented sector live in poverty, more than any other tenure (this figure has doubled in the last 10 years)
  • Almost 1 in 5 working Londoners (17%) were paid below the London Living Wage (£8.30) in 2012. This is an increase of more than 40% over 5 years and means 600,000 people are in low-paid jobs
  • The majority (57%) of working-age adults and children in poverty are now in families that work

A quarter rely on housing benefit

A quarter of all households in London rely on housing benefit Credit: PA

Housing costs are not just a problem for those in the centre of London without a job: 50% of housing benefit claimants live in outer London and 40% are in work.

A quarter of all households in London rely on housing benefit to meet their housing costs, compared to a fifth in England as a whole.

High housing costs mean that benefit cuts will be much deeper in the capital. Rents here are as much as twice the England average: £950 in outer London and £1,300 in inner London.

Young adults are among the largest group affected. London attracts increasing numbers of young people seeking opportunities but unemployment among 16 to 24 year olds in the capital has risen from 15-25% in the last 10 years.

28% of Londoners in poverty

The capital has problems with child poverty, young adult unemployment, low pay and high housing costs according to the study Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

The fourth edition of London's Poverty Profile shows that 28% of people in London are in poverty. This is seven percentage points higher than the rest of England and of the 20 English local authorities with the highest levels of child poverty, seven are in London.

The unemployment rate in London at 7% is still higher than the England average, while in the 'Olympic boroughs' of Barking & Dagenham and Newham it is 10%, higher than any of the major English cities.


Child poverty on the rise in London schools

School staff members say poverty for children is on the rise Credit: PA

A UNISON survey published today reveals the shocking impact of child poverty in schools around London . The survey shows that 72 percent of those surveyed in London believe that children at their school are living in poverty.

School staff believe the damaging effects on pupils are clear and poverty is on the rise all across the capital.

Special Report: Pensioner forced to live in air raid shelter

All week we've been exploring the issue of poverty in London - how many are living in squalid, overcrowded conditions, some even in slums.

Tonight we're reporting on how older Londoners are trying to survive on their pensions.

As part of our special series on poverty in the capital, Ria Chatterjee has met one woman who is so poor she's living in an old air raid shelter.

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