Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Myth of Affluent Londoner

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Myth of Affluent Londoner

Article excerpt


THE POPULAR image of the affluent Londoner is today shattered by new research showing the average standard of living in the capital is only marginally higher than the rest of the country and some sectors of society are significantly worse off.

The annual assessment of London's economy by the think-tank, the Centre for Economics and Business Research, found that the average Londoner earns [pound]119 a week more than the average Briton. But with housing costs 56 per cent higher and bigger food, fuel, tax and shopping bills in the capital, Londoners have only [pound]29 a week more to spend.

The centre calculated that Londoners pay an extra [pound]38 a week in tax and [pound]44 a week in higher prices and living costs. Average "losses" amount to a further [pound]8 a week because of the high number of badly-paid jobs.

Many key workers, including nurses, teachers, secretaries, builders, commercial drivers and corporate managers, are significantly worse off than their counterparts elsewhere in Britain.

Londoners renting their home, or who have bought a property using a mortgage within the last five to 10 years, would also be better off moving out of the capital.

Paul Valentine at the Corporation of London's economic development unit, which commissioned the report, said: "This research explodes the myth that Londoners are significantly better off than people outside the capital.

"To add insult to financial injury, on some measures of quality of life, especially travel-to-work times, London does not score highly. To a large extent, London's streets are paved only with fools' gold."

The news comes despite the fact that the capital is the seventh biggest economy in Europe, according to the Centre for

exploded Economics and Business Research.

With a gross domestic product of [pound]169 billion in 2000, equivalent to 21 per cent of total UK activity, it is larger than Belgium and Sweden and dwarfs Turkey and Russia. …

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