- Available: November 3, 2019
This report by the Institute’s deputy director, Paul Hunter, follows on from previous research by Paul on poverty in suburbia and on housing and low pay in London. It also complements the excellent London Poverty Profile by the Trust for London, as well other studies on poverty and inequality in London by the GLA, JRF and the London Fairness Commission. What is distinctive about this report is the focus on understanding the extent to which poverty and inequality have worsened in outer London in recent years, especially relative to inner London.
Paul provides a critique of agglomeration theory and so-called ‘city centralism’ that dominates the current policy landscape around economic development. Whilst acknowledging the benefits this approach has brought, he carefully documents the downsides for those on low incomes in many outer London boroughs. His detailed statistical analysis is enriched with insights gathered from focus group discussions with low-income residents from outer London as well as interviews and meetings with experts and key stakeholders. This blend of data, information and opinion underpins Paul’s agenda for change, which is presented in the final section of the report in the form of a series of policy recommendations and ideas to rebalance London’s economy.
In presenting a range of possible solutions, mostly directed at the London Mayor and outer London boroughs, Paul hopes to provoke a broader debate around the challenges facing outer London (and London as a whole). Some of the proposals, such as redirecting the funding for Crossrail 2, are highly controversial, others, such as promoting the London Living Wage, are widely supported. What matters is that they challenge the status quo and seek to counter rising poverty and inequality in outer London.
London is now entering a new era and its leaders will need to plan ahead carefully to deliver the shared prosperity its citizens want. A poorer and more divided city, with an ever-widening gap between a wealthier inner London and a poorer outer London is not an option. As this report argues, renewed efforts are required to secure inclusive and sustainable growth across all London’s boroughs – not a displacement from one area to another.