The Mayor of London today agreed to my request that he consider the lower incomes of women when calculating a ‘living rent’ for London, and that he looks at a separate ‘Student Living Rent’ figure.
But at Mayor’s Question Time he rejected my suggestion that the calculations for family-sized homes should consider the high costs of childcare in London.
London has the worst gender pay gap in the UK and childcare costs are 28% higher than the rest of the UK. London is by far the most expensive place to be a student in the UK. In 2015/16 the average weekly student rent was £226. Applying the Mayor’s general definition – that a living rent should be one third of disposable income – would imply a student living rent would be around £110 per week.
Most Londoners struggle with housing costs, but women earn significantly less than men on average, and often have to shoulder high childcare costs. I want the Mayor to make sure his living rent definition doesn’t leave women in poverty. It’s great that he will consider women’s lower incomes, but I’m frustrated he won’t look at the high costs families face which leave them with much less disposable income for rent.
London is also an incredibly expensive space to study, and some students have even launched rent strikes in frustration at high rents and poor conditions. I’m glad the Mayor has agreed to look at this, and hope he works with student groups, colleges and universities to try and improve the quality and cost of housing for people studying in the capital.
Watch me questioning the Mayor here: