Why the recent changes to the UK minimum wage mean nothing to minimum wage workers looking to rent in London

Apr 6th 2016

The recent increase to the UK’s national minimum wage will mean very little to low income workers in London, recent research has found. TotallyMoney.com has looked into how affordable housing is to people with full time minimum wage jobs in the capital. The research revealed that not a single London postcode area offers one-bed rentals where a person making minimum wage could live without spending more than 50% of their wages on rent. In fact, even if the UK’s most expensive city adopted the £9.40 London living wage proposed by the Living Wage Foundation, tenants would only be able to find affordable one-beds in a single London postcode. You can see the map detailing how much workers would need to make to rent in each of London's postcode areas here. SE2, which houses the South East London suburb of Abbey Wood in Zone 4, is the cheapest postcode area in the city. Renters looking for a one-bed here will have to make £8.21 an hour to cover the rent – well above the recently increased minimum wage for workers aged 25 and over (£7.20 an hour). Housing and homelessness charity Shelter say that affordable housing is defined as spending no more than 35% of your income on rent, however as this data shows, this is an unrealistic goal for many renters in London. The most expensive postcode area is of course in London’s famously expensive central area, where renters would have to make £49.19 per hour (around £162,000 a year) in order to afford a one-bed in the heart of London’s financial district in EC3 without spending more than 50% of their wages on rent. TotallyMoney.com CEO Alastair Douglas said of the research findings: ‘Rising rent prices are making living in London nearly impossible for many people with low income jobs. ‘This adds to the belief of London being a city where only wealthy people can comfortably rent accommodation, which threatens to further the rental property crisis. ‘Here at TotallyMoney.com we are committed to making the credit market a fairer place and saving the consumer money. We hope that this research will highlight the problem of rapidly rising rent prices and help people in their search for affordable housing.’

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