Poverty and income inequality in London

Income inequality in London is rife, with the richest tenth of Londoners having almost ten times the income of the poorest ten percent according to government data.

The non-profit organisation Trust for London found that net inequality had gradually risen in London in the last two decades, meaning that the difference in income is greater today than it was nearly 20 years ago.

The differences in income are much greater in London than in the rest of the UK, particularly after the high costs of housing in the capital are taken into account.

The poverty data

The general London poverty rate was 25% in 2021-22 which is slightly lower than the rest of the country which was 28% according to non-profit organisation Trust for London.

For women in London over the same period of time it was 26% and for single women with children in London it was 47%. 

Men in London on the other hand were just below the London average at 23%. 

Londoners of black and ethnic minority backgrounds had poverty rates almost double their white counterparts, at 33% and 18% respectively. 

Those experiencing the highest rates of poverty in the city were workless families at 52% followed by those who were single with children at 47%.

Financial Inclusion

The problem of debt, uninsured households and people who cannot access affordable credit are issues that keep part of the population trapped in poverty.

The numbers vary, but the Financial Conduct Authority estimated that up to 1.3 million people in the UK do not have a bank account.

Aamaya, who came to the UK in the 1980s from Bangladesh, only got a bank account in 2017.

She said: “There were a lot of challenges at the time – the language barrier was huge and as I worked largely cash in hand jobs, I didn’t even have the knowledge about banking in the UK.”

Equal life chances

As those who experienced the highest rates of poverty in the city were workless families and singles with children, it’s worth considering the impact of poverty and inequality on children in London. 

Mum of two, Stacy, who lives in Newham, one of the city’s poorest boroughs, said: “Things have definitely gotten harder gradually but I would sacrifice everything to make sure my children do not miss out.” 

Government data shows that despite London’s wealth inequality, children in London generally do better in educational attainment than other children in England who share the same characteristics as them.

Photo credits: Unsplash copyright free

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