Why London’s Poverty Profile is needed now more than ever

Today we launch the new London’s Poverty Profile – a compendium of indicators that explores facets of poverty and inequality in the city.

In normal times, it is an opportunity to assess trends and identify how life for low-income Londoners might be changing.

I suspect most of you reading this will be familiar with the nature of London’s poverty across the last decade. The city has the highest poverty rates in the country, driven primarily by the high cost of housing. Poverty is most prevalent in the private rented sector, and has been more about those who are working, rather than workless.

Our indicators have been compiled from data sources that tell us about poverty before the Coronavirus pandemic. We know that some things have changed since the crisis. In March 2020, nearly one million people made new claims for Universal Credit, an increase of nearly 700 per cent. Poverty could once again become a story about unemployment.

But the data in today’s report is not simply yesterday’s news. It is the baseline from which we should measure the economic and health impacts of Coronavirus on poverty in the city.

And the pandemic will not affect everything. The high cost of living, particularly housing, will continue to dominate the lives of low- and middle-income Londoners.

By understanding the complex drivers of poverty and inequality in the city we can work together to address them.

So, what’s next? With our partners, WPI Economics and the Consumer Data Research Centre at UCL, we will continue to update the data and provide insight on London’s Poverty Profile. We want to make sure you have the latest data to inform your work. And we will continue to work with you to build a fairer London for all.