A London Poverty Profile has found that the majority of working-age adults and children living in poverty in the capital are from working families.
A study has shown that nearly a third of Londoners are living in poverty and a rising number of those household have someone in work. With 28% of people in London in poverty it is seven % point higher than the rest of England. The majority of working-age adults and children in poverty – 57% – in the capital are in families that work.
The findings from the report by the London Poverty Profile are at odds with the principle that underlies the government’s welfare reform programme which believes work is the best solution for poverty. “You don’t help people by leaving them stuck on welfare … but by helping them stand on their own two feet. Why? Because the best way out of poverty is work – and the dignity that brings,” David Cameron said in his Conservative party conference speech last month, reports the Guardian.
The report highlights a problem with people being under paid, revealing that almost one in five Londoners were paid below the London living wage in 2012. There are around 600,000 people in low-paid jobs in London which has increased by 40% over the past five years.
Bharat Mehta, chief executive of Trust for London, said: “Work on its own is not a solution to London’s poverty because of the growing number of low-paid jobs. The majority of working-age adults and children in poverty are now in families that work. Londoners are trying hard but are getting stuck; with many being impacted by high housing costs, low pay and limited career progression.
“London’s economy may be doing better than the rest of the country but that obscures the fact it has the highest poverty rate.”
The research also shows that it not just the centre of London that is in poverty but it is toward the outskirts. It is believed that this is due to rising rents in central London becoming unaffordable and housing benefit caps are forcing people to relocate to cheaper, less central areas. About 58% of the 2.1 million people in poverty in London now live in outer London, whereas 10 years ago it was 50%.
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