Londoners feel cost of living squeeze


New polling commissioned for London Councils shows that the cost of living is now the most important issue facing Londoners.

The online survey of 1,000 Londoners, conducted by Ipsos MORI, shows that almost 1 in 5 of all Londoners – 18 per cent – agreed that the cost of living is the most important issue facing London today, up 7 percentage points from when the survey was last conducted in 2018.

When all issues were considered, cost of living came out on top, with nearly two thirds of Londoners – 62 per cent – agreeing this is an important issue facing London today.

Private renters and young people were more likely to say the cost of living was the most important issue, with 24 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds and 23 per cent of private renters saying this is the biggest issue.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be a concern for people in the capital, with 18 per cent agreeing this is the most important issue facing London today – on a par with cost of living. When all issues were considered, half of Londoners – 51 per cent – said this is an important issue facing London today.

These findings reflect how London’s economy and labour market has been hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the past two years the capital saw the largest peak in unemployment – reaching 7.2 per cent – compared to any other region. London also had the largest number of people on furlough – at around 1.6 million.

The number of Universal Credit Claimants in London is now double what it was in March 2020, at around 980,000 people. Youth unemployment in the capital continues to be higher than any other region.

London is home to 5 of the 25 most deprived council areas in England and 27 per cent of Londoners live in poverty after housing costs are factored in. Poverty rates among families with children in London have consistently been the highest of any region, with nearly 4 in 10 children in poverty.

Elsewhere in the survey, 80 per cent agreed that young people are being priced of the local housing market and 72 per cent said there was a need for more affordable housing, including council housing, in their borough.

Average private rents in London have risen by 43% since 2005, by far the largest increase of any English region. London has the highest average house price of any region in England and there are currently 165,000 Londoners living in temporary accommodation awaiting suitable and affordable long term homes.

Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils, said:

“It’s clear that the cost of living crisis is being felt in communities across the city as Londoners continue to feel the detrimental impact the pandemic has had on our economy.

“Councils sit at the heart of their communities and are best placed to redouble efforts to tackle longstanding issues with housing and welfare, providing good quality jobs and supporting a recovery from the pandemic that works for all Londoners.”