Barking and Dagenham hit as poverty increasingly moves to outer London

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:00 20 March 2019

A person sleeping rough in a London doorway. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

A person sleeping rough in a London doorway. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The proportion of Londoners in outer London boroughs like Barking and Dagenham living in poverty has almost doubled over the last 15 years, according to a new study.

In outer London, 1.4 million people live in poverty in 2016/17, looking at numbers from the Department of Work and Pensions, around 60 per cent of the city’s total.

In 2004, this was only 32 per cent.

Inner London still has a higher proportion of people living in poverty, but the gap between the amount of poverty in inner and outer London is converging.

Where there was 12-point difference 15 years ago, it’s only 7 per cent as of 2016/17 (the most recent data available).

This means outer areas are becoming more similar to inner London in terms of how many residents live in poverty.

The report comes from fairness think tank The Smith Institute with support from poverty charity Trust for London.

The bottom line is that, while inner London has grown and consolidated its gains, says the study, outer London has been relatively neglected by lawmakers and policy initiatives.

“London is becoming a divided city,” said Paul Hunter, who wrote the report and is deputy director at the Smith Institute.

“The trickle out economics of City-centred growth and turbo charged house prices is not working for outer Londoners on low incomes, who struggle with housing affordability issues and access to good jobs.”

“That is why we are calling for a more balanced approach to economic development in the capital. This would mean reassessing infrastructure and regeneration projects to help spread growth across the capital with a much greater focus on tackling poverty and inequality”.

The report makes dozens of recommendations, including appointment of a deputy mayor for outer London, new orbital transport networks to improve the links between outer areas and residents’ ‘first dibs’ on any new jobs or homes.

In Barking and Dagenham, there are two people per job according to Hunter’s analysis. That number is the same for neighbouring Newham, despite new developments spurred by the Olympics.

Barking and Dagenham also has the highest proportion of low paid workers of any borough at 19 per cent. That’s an increase of three percent since 2008.

Low pay is defined in the report is anything below £8.33 per hour, or a little over £16,000 before tax.

Newham is also at 19 per cent, but that’s a drop of two percentage points in the last decade.

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