Croydon suffering more as London’s poverty gap grows

It’s not just the Scots who are demanding a new financial settlement from central government. Outer London boroughs, especially Croydon, need to get more cash from Westminster for the growing needs of their rapidly growing populations.

Outer London genericCroydon, as we have known since the 2011 census, has undergone transformational population change over the past decade and is London’s biggest borough by population, with more than 360,000 people resident here. And that three-year-old figure is due to be revised upwards, too.

According to a report in the Financial Times, research from the New Policy Institute suggests that while inner London has undergone what Americans call the “Great Inversion”, or what longer term residents of Islington, Brixton and Camberwell know as gentrification, outer London boroughs have become more populated, less employed and generally poorer.

“The inner city has developed rapidly. Poverty is moving to the outskirts of the capital,” the report in the FT stated.

“Although the poverty rate in inner London remains higher than that in the outer boroughs, the gap between the two is narrowing.”

While child poverty in inner London has fallen since 1999, in outer London it has increased. According to the NPI, the six boroughs that had the biggest increase in unemployment since the recession are all in outer London.

Where there is work, the FT reports, in the outer boroughs it is more likely to be low-paid. Approximately 20 per cent of jobs in the outer boroughs are low-paid, according to the research, which defines this as less than the £8.50 an hour London living wage. The proportion of low-paid jobs in inner London is half that amount, at 10 per cent.

And one-third of those low-paid jobs in inner London are done by outer Londoners who travel into town.

This graphic from the

This graphic from the NPI’s latest Poverty Profile shows the percentage of mortgage repossessions in various parts of London

The report also identifies how the coalition government’s changes to housing benefit is driving ever more low- or no-income households out of unaffordable central London, and to outer London boroughs. “The majority of London boroughs have median rents that cost more than 50 per cent of median local full-time earnings,” Shelter, the housing charity, reports.

Thus, while central government policies heap ever more demand on local services in outer London, creating greater demand for school places, housing and health provision, meanwhile, Croydon’s new council prepares to deal with a further round of “austerity” cuts in its grant funding from Westminster of around 25 per cent.

That might be worth considering the next time a politician talks about offering tax cuts in return for your vote.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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