Improving Life for Low-income Londoners: How the next Mayor of London can tackle poverty and inequality

Key findings

Five

aims have been identified by Trust for London for the new Mayor of London to make progress on to support low-income Londoners.

Scale

of the challenges facing London can seem insurmountable, but there are practical steps which can be taken.

By 2024

we want the new Britain and London to be a place where there is less poverty and less inequality.

London is the wealthiest city in the world. But behind the appearance of prosperity, life for many Londoners is difficult.

London has the highest poverty rates in the UK. Four in ten Londoners do not achieve what the public deems to be a minimum acceptable standard of living. There are many things to celebrate about the UK’s capital, but too many people in the city miss out on the economic, social and cultural opportunities it has to offer.

These are the challenges that await the next Mayor of London. The capital’s most senior elected representative will lead the city with the highest levels of poverty and inequality in the country.

Trust for London distributes around £10 million a year to organisations that are tackling the root causes of poverty and inequality in London. As well as supporting up to 300 organisations at any one time, we also fund independent research and provide knowledge and expertise on London’s social issues to policymakers and journalists. This exposes us to a wealth of expertise on the issues affecting low-income Londoners, from which we have drawn five aims that we would like to see progress on during the next Mayor of London’s term.

Good Affordable Housing

We want all Londoners to have access to good quality affordable housing, in neighbourhoods with a good sense of community where migrants are welcomed and able to integrate.

Key actions
  • Maximise the delivery of genuinely affordable rented housing
  • Promote the voice of Londoners in new housing plans
  • Work with the boroughs to raise standards in temporary accommodation
  • Ensure the government meaningfully ends the practice of ‘no-fault’ evictions
  • Encourage the development of effective landlord licensing schemes
  • Advocate for simpler routes to citizenship and settled status
  • Help public services and civil society build a hospitable environment where all those wishing to make London their home feel welcome

Reduce the Cost of Living

We need to reduce the cost of living in the city, including the costs of childcare and transport, as well as the disproportionately high cost of essentials for people on low incomes.

Key actions
  • Advocate for changes to Universal Credit to make childcare more affordable for claimants
  • Lobby government to increase the rights of parents to request that schools set up on-site childcare
  • Support parents of children with special educational needs to request the provision of more suitable childcare
  • Encourage the development of more parent-led childcare
  • Improve the transport system to make it fair and equitable for all
  • Minimise the cost burden on low-income households of the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)
  • Support the Fair by Design campaign to eradicate the poverty premium

Better Work for Everyone

Many jobs are low paid and insecure and fail to act as a stepping stone to a future career. We want better work for everyone, where those in work are treated with decency and respect and are paid at least a living wage.

Key actions
  • Help underrepresented groups unlock employment in key industries in the city, including finance, construction and the creative sector
  • Encourage businesses to create more flexible employment opportunities
  • Support campaigns that aim to reduce pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace
  • Advocate for changes to the immigration system that incentivise good employment practices

A Responsive Social Security System

We need a responsive system of social security that provides adequate income for people when they need it and which doesn’t create barriers to work for those who can.

Key actions
  • Advocate for a system of social security that is designed around the needs of users, and scrutinise the upcoming findings of the Commission on Social Security led by Experts by Experience
  • Support calls to address well documented flaws in Universal Credit
  • Work with London Councils to encourage more consistency in the provision of local welfare assistance schemes, and encourage more coordinated crisis support schemes
  • Champion the rights of Deaf and Disabled people and help the Deaf and Disabled people’s sector regain its strength following years of austerity
  • Strengthen specialist services (including immigration advice) and play a role in coordinating provision across London

A Fairer London for All

We live in a city with large gaps between the rich and the poor. Inequality is bad for everyone: we want a fairer London for all.

Key actions
  • Lobby government to implement the findings of the London Finance Commission
  • Advocate for council tax reform
  • Ensure the government’s commitment to an overseas property ownership register is implemented effectively
  • Champion a post-Brexit Britain that reduces rather than exacerbates inequality
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Improving Life for Low-income Londoners: How the next Mayor of London can tackle poverty and inequality

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