Minimum Income Standard for London

New research, funded by Trust for London, to look at the minimum additional costs of living in the capital.

MInimum Income Standard for London

New research from Loughborough University shows that a third of Londoners have less income than they need for what the public regard as a decent standard of living. That is one that allows them to meet their basic needs and participate in society at a minimum level.

The data shows it costs between 20% and up to 50% more for various types of household to reach a minimum decent standard of living in London than elsewhere in the country. This is because of additional costs, particularly housing, transport and childcare.

The research is funded by Trust for London, and is the first to look in detail at the minimum additional costs of living in the capital. The research shows that compared to the rest of the UK:

  • A minimum budget for a single working-age adult is 47% higher in Inner London and 35% higher in Outer London. This is largely driven by high housing costs, which in Inner London make up almost half the living costs for a single person.
  • A minimum budget for a couple with two children is 22% more in Inner London and 21% more in Outer London. This is influenced by the high cost of childcare.
  • A minimum budget for a pensioner couple is 31% more in Inner London and 18% in Outer London. This is driven by rent and the additional cost of social activities.

While one in three Londoners overall fall below the Minimum Income Standard (MIS), this varies greatly across groups:

  • Over four in ten people (43%) in families with children are below the standard.
  • A quarter of working-age adults without children (26%) are below MIS.
  • Nearly one in five pensioners (18%) do not meet the standard.

The figures for MIS come from detailed deliberations among people who live in the capital and what they themselves say is needed to lead a decent life. The minimum includes food, shelter and clothing and items such as being able to buy a child’s birthday present or a cheap meal out up to twice a month to maintain friendships and work relationships. By far the biggest costs come from housing, transport and childcare. Since 2008, all these costs have risen sharply in London: social rents by over a third, childcare costs by nearly two-thirds and public transport fares by a quarter. Over the same period, average earnings have risen only 10%.

Full details can be found on the Trust for London website. The reports are available below: