New survey finds latest lockdown has widened London’s economic inequalities

New survey finds latest lockdown has widened London’s economic inequalities

The most recent Covid-19 restrictions have had the most severe financial impact on women and all Londoners who were already facing greater economic insecurity and disadvantage, according to new research published by think tank Centre for London.

A survey of 1,500 Londoners by research and polling company Savanta has found  that the proportion of women reporting a fall their disposable income has risen to 48% compared with 43% in the last survey in September, and that the percentage working less than five hours a week has more than doubled to 15% over the same period. By contrast, men as a whole reported no change in their disposable income.

Savanta found that 44% of Londoners as a whole have experienced a decline in their disposable income and that these decreases have most often affected black Asian and other minority ethnic (BAME) Londoners, who were already more likely to be finding it hard to make ends meet. There is now a wider overall gap between them and white Londoners reporting a fall in disposable income than there was.

Also, self-employed Londoners in general have been faring worse than those employed by companies compared with September. While more Londoners in both of these broad groups reported decreases in disposable income, more of the self-employed did and they were already far more likely to.

Savanta also asked the survey sample if they thought they “would be able to meet an unexpected expense of £500” from their own money and found a significant fall in the number saying they could do so compared with September, to just under half.

Young and BAME Londoners and Londoners who rent their homes were the groups least likely to say they would be able to raise that amount of money. Older and home-owning Londoners were twice as likely as young Londoners and renters to say they could find the £500.

The proportions saying they could do so only by borrowing from a bank or from family and friends has risen since September. Black, African and Caribbean Londoners were the least likely to say they could meet an unexpected expense of that size by any means, and those who said they said could only by borrowing were far more likely to borrow from family or friends than from a bank (by a margin of 26% to 10%).

The survey also explored how Londoners have experienced spending more time than usual in their home neighbourhoods in the past 12 months, due to workplaces closing and the government urging people to “stay at home” as much as possible.

Asked about their local parks, policing and transport options, Londoners aged over-55 were happier with their neighbourhood public spaces and public transport than younger age groups and women were generally happier with these things than men. Satisfaction with policing was similar across the sexes and all age groups. Men and the under-55s were happier with local cycle routes.

Londoners with disabilities were less happy than all the other categories in the sample about parks and public spaces, public transport and cycle lanes and felt broadly the same about policing.

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