‘London has been named the most expensive city in Europe for renting accommodation’ (The Telegraph, 2018). Housing prices in London are extremly high and they do not meet with the wages. The capital is the most expensive city to live in the UK and that causes as pays there are not much higher than in the rest of the country. National Minimum Wage is £7.83 per hour and London Living Wage is £10.55 per hour and UK Living Wage £9 per hour. Sadly not everyone meets the rates (TrustforLondon, 2018).
Comparing living costs in London and the rest of the UK, wages are still not high enough to meet the living standards in this expensive city. From 2011 to 2017 rent prices rose by 26% to £1500 a month average for two-bedroom flat, when wages rose only by 9% in the same period of time (Independent, 2018). In the rest of the UK prices rose by 18.2%, it means to £650 for the same type of flat (The Independent, 2018). It shows a huge price gap between London and the rest f the capital.
Living in London can be particulary hard for the young students. Minimum wage for those under 25 years old is even lower (£5.90 per hour from the age of 18 to 20) (GOV UK, 2018). Struggles meet especially students coming from other countries like me and many of my friends, who do not financialy depend on their families, as they cannot always cover high living costs in London. Searching a place to live and a job that will cover the rent and still let you save money for other expenses can be difficult. On top of that finding a balance between worklife, education and social life are another poblems.
(BBC, 2017) says that people living in London spend 49% of their salary on the rent. It is almost half and other basic costs like transport (which in not cheap either), food and bills still need to be paid. Working to survive seems relevant to London life! What is the point of that? Long hours spent at work, that do not bring people any benefits.
From my personal experience I know the prices are really high and renting just a double room may cost you up to around £850 and one-bedroom flat (with good living conditions) will be around £1200 or much more. It depends on the area you are looking for as well.
(Homes and Property, 2016) says that the least expensive area is the south-east borough of Bexley. However, it says you would still need a salary of at least £23,000, just to be able to pay for room in a sharing household. Moreover, only 9 out of 32 London borough’s prices are in a budget of those earning £30,000 a year or less. The rest of the capital is usually not available for those with lower-paid jobs. In 2017 there were 3.3 mln in London on lower incomes that are suggested for basic living standards (The Guardian, 2017)
For the prices in London everyone would expect some good living conditions, but is is not always the case. Around 338,000 homes were recognised as dangerous for living and likely to cause harm (The Guardian, 2018). Among the problems are rats, mouses, mould, leakings and electrical issues (The Guardian, 2018). It means, even though housing is already expensive, you might need to pay even more if you want to stay away from those issues. (The Guardian, 2018) visited many properties that prices reached £1,100 and and they found leaking ceilings and mould in the kitchens.
Population is struggling to live up to the expectations of London prices. Comparing the rest of the UK to the capital, a huge price gap can be seen. In these circumstances wages should be higher in this area so people would be able to afford housing that would provide basic living conditions, which might be the issue. Poor instalations, humidity and pests are only some of the difficulties Londoners face. The changes need to made in order to prevent poverty, building slums and other serious problems that will be seen, if the situation with low-paid jobs and expensive housing do not get better.
- Trust for London (2018), London Living Wage Available at: https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/issues/work/london-living-wage/
- The Telegraph, Sophie Christie (2018), London named ‘most expensive city’ in Europe to rent for third year in a row, Availiable at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/renting/london-named-expensive-city-europe-rent-third-year-row/
- The Independent, Ben Chapman (2018), London rents rising almost three times faster than wages, research finds
- GOV UK (2018), National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates, Available at: https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates
- BBC,Kevin Peachey and Daniele Palumbo (2017), How much of your salary is spent on rent? Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42179119
- The Guardian, Robert Booth (2018), Hundreds of thousands living in squalid rented homes in England Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/28/hundreds-of-thousands-living-in-squalid-rented-homes-in-england
- Homes&Property, Ruth Bloomfield (2016), Renting in London:Generation Rent earning less than the average London salary of £37,000 can’t afford to live in two thirds of the capital
Available at: https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/renting/renting-in-london-generation-renters-earning-less-than-the-average-london-salary-of-37000-cant-a105856.html
- The Guardian, Ben Quinn (2017), More than a quarter of households struggle to afford life in London Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/16/london-living-costs-incomes-low-benefits-wages-inflation
- London Renters Union (2017) My Gawd! My Wages Available at: https://twitter.com/ldnrentersunion/status/854692391466545152