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Londoners remain committed to their city despite pandemic

by LLB Reporter
21st Oct 20 12:06 pm

Very few Londoners intend to move out of the capital in the next year, despite the financial and social hit from coronavirus, and high housing costs, according to a new survey published today (Wednesday 21 September).

The survey is the second quarterly Snapshot of Londoners by Centre for London, in partnership with Savanta. The first was survey was undertaken in May.

The survey, which asked over 1,500 Londoners how their daily lives have been affected by the pandemic found that:

Few people expect to leave the capital, despite high housing costs

  • Only 7% of Londoners expect to leave London in the next year.
  • The most likely groups to expect to stay are older Londoners (65+) and homeowners – but 70% of people who are currently unemployed and looking for work also expect to be living here next year.
  • This is despite worries about housing affordability: 44% say rent is unaffordable for them personally, and 68% think it is unaffordable for younger people. A majority of Londoners say house prices are unaffordable for them personally (56%), while 72% think they are unaffordable for younger people.

The financial hit from the pandemic has not been equal

  • 42% of Londoners say coronavirus has negatively affected their disposable income – unchanged since Centre for London and Savanta last asked these questions in May.
  • 25 to 44-year olds, BAME Londoners and self-employed Londoners are the most likely to have taken a financial hit.
  • 29% of Londoners say they are struggling to make ends meet, while 23% worry that they would not be able to meet an unexpected cost of £500.

The pandemic has been said to reveal the latent goodwill in communities across the country. Our survey found that 45% of Londoners thought that people help each other out in their neighbourhood, while 27% of Londoners donated time to charity in the last month. Parents of children under 18 and Londoners with a disability, both groups whose lives have been heavily disrupted this year, were amongst those most likely to volunteer for charity.

The survey also asked about Londoners’ feelings about going into the city centre. Even before the introduction of new restrictions, half of Londoners said they would not feel comfortable visiting the centre, and the figure was higher for older age groups.

Coronavirus has upended the daily lives of Londoners. Over the next year, Centre for London will be seeking the views of Londoners through its London Futures review, to build a shared vision of the city to 2050 and beyond.

Claire Harding, Research Director at Centre for London said, “Londoners continue to be divided by their experience of, and response to, the pandemic.

“Restrictions have eased since we last surveyed Londoners in the spring, but the impact of coronavirus is very far from over. Although people want to stay living in our city, we know that many are not finding it easy, and that for many people things are going to get harder.

“Our recovery from the pandemic needs to work for all Londoners in all neighbourhoods. The Mayor of London and the government should focus training and skills development, especially for Londoners who are furthest from the job market – this way, we can prevent a crisis turning into lifetime economic scars.”

Oliver Worsfold, Associate Director at Savanta added, “This data shows us Londoners are still in a lull: the uptake of activities considered ‘normal’ before the pandemic is limited and those hit financially by the crisis are still facing enormous difficulties

“As we saw in the first wave, people of colour, those in more precarious employment and younger Londoners were hit harder by COVID-19 and the associated economic slowdown. As we once again enter tighter restrictions in the capital, policy makers need to recognise and combat the uneven impact of the pandemic on the diverse communities in London.

“As the furlough scheme comes winds down, our data suggests a significant minority will continue to face financial hardship with increasingly limited support from the government”

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