High living costs will price families out of borough, says report
PUBLISHED: 15:44 03 October 2013
Rich and those on benefits only exceptions
Living in Islington is so expensive that even the London living wage and social housing benefits can’t keep families off the breadline, a new report claims.
And the situation is set to get worse, with only the mega-rich and those on benefits being able to live in the borough by 2020, according to the document, which is due out today.
The publication – called Distant Neighbours, Poverty and Inequality in Islington – is the work of left-leaning think-tank the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and paints a grim picture of Islington as a place where mental health issues, social isolation and poverty continue to grow and the gap between rich and poor yawns ever wider.
It says: “In contrast to its image of boutique shops, top-end restaurants and thriving nightlife, Islington has long been a borough of entrenched poverty and wide inequalities.”
It adds that in 2008: “People were struggling with worklessness, debt, social isolation, and poor physical and metal health. Our research suggest that over the last five years poverty has deepened and inequality had widened.”
The report, which features research on incomes and interviews with residents, estimates that even a single person living alone needs to earn £9.94 an hour to make ends meet, with a two children family needing £12.83 – but the London living wage is currently set at only £8.55.
In seven years’ time, all but the top earners will be squeezed out of the borough. The report estimates a typical family will need £72,000 of disposable income to afford to live in the borough, but are only forecasted to have £56,000.
Mental health is also cited as a big problem – 13 per cent of people in the borough have depression, compared to eight per cent in London, with suicide a more common result of mental health problems in Islington than elsewhere.
One resident, when asked where she saw herself in six months time, said: “Probably under a train.”
The document also says prospects for young people are bleak, with more than 13,000 children in poverty.
Cllr James Murray, Islington Counci’s executive member for housing and development, said the new benefit cap would have a “huge” effect. He added: “It means a lot of families will have to move; a lot of them outside Islington and even outside of London.”