‘70% of London’s poor children live in a working family’



The majority of people living in poverty in London are living in a working family with around 70% of children in poverty living being in a family where one or both parents work, according to a report out today.

The report by the Trust for London says 58% of poor Londoners live in a working family. This figure was 44% a decade earlier and 28% two decades ago.

The report says work itself has become less stable. In 2016, the number of workers in London on temporary contracts was at an all-time high at 260,000 with one in three (33%) on a temporary contract wanting a permanent one.

The report says over two million Londoners are struggling to make ends meet – more than the entire populations of Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Newcastle combined.  It states that, although the number of those living below the poverty line has fallen from 29% to 27% over the last six years, the number in poverty remains at 2.3m due to population growth. In the rest of England, the figure is 21%. The cost of housing is the main factor explaining London’s higher poverty rate, says the report.

It states that 700,000 children, 1.4 million working-age adults and 200,000 pensioners in London are in poverty. That is 37% of all children, 24% of all working-age adults, and 19% of all pensioners.

It adds that the depth of poverty has been increasing, with the proportion of households whose income is below 50% of median income (rather than 60% – official poverty measure) rising by 1.5 percentage points in the last five years (some 130,000 people).

The report also points to rising inequality: the bottom 50% of London households own just over 5% of London’s wealth, whereas the top 10% owns over half. The amount of wealth held by the bottom tenth of households fell by one third in London between 2010–12 and 2012–14, whereas in Great Britain it fell by just 2%. Someone just in the top 10% saw their wealth grow by 25% in London over the same period. In Great Britain it was 15%, says the report.

It says that for the majority of the 2.3 million Londoners in poverty, work is not enough to help them avoid financial struggle.

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