The total number of Londoners in poverty now stands at 2.25 million. Of these, slightly more than half – 1.2 million – qualify as “in-work poor”, representing an increase of 70% in the past 10 years. These are defined as living in poverty are members of households in which at least one adult has a job, according to a new analysis. The figures include 450,000 children who live in such households, and research estimates that cuts in working tax credits to families next April could make 640,000 children worse off.
The report says: “The increase in the number of people in poverty in London has been almost entirely among those in working families.” It points to low pay, limited working hours and the capital’s notoriously high housing costs as key reasons.
The number of low-paid jobs in the capital has risen for the past five years and now stands at nearly 700,000. These pay an hourly rate lower than the voluntary London Living Wage, currently £9.15, which is set annually at a level calculated as meeting basic living costs in the capital.
Overall, 1.1 million London children are in families that receive tax credits. The Child Poverty Action Group says the report shows how “incredibly dangerous” it would be to cut tax credits and predicts that child poverty in London, already running at 38%, would rise higher still.
The city’s overall poverty rate is 27%, much as it has been for the past decade. The rate for the rest of England is 20%. The poverty threshold is defined as households with incomes of less than 60% of the national median after housing costs are included.