Distant neighbours

Key findings
  • The London Living Wage is no longer enough to support many people in Islington, even if they have social housing.
  • By 2020 most people on middle incomes will have been squeezed out of Islington by rising living costs.
  • Negative effects of economic inequality are being felt by rich and poor residents of Islington.

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Photo credit: © Simon Townsley

October 3, 2013 // Written by:

Joe Penny, Researcher, Social Policy
Faiza Shaheen, Senior Researcher, Economic Inequality
Sarah Lyall, Researcher, Social Policy

Poverty is deepening and inequality is widening in Islington. After five years of economic uncertainty, public sector cuts, and now welfare reform, lower-income residents are under more pressure than ever. The gap between the wealthiest and the rest is growing as house prices and wage polarisation squeeze middle-income families. By 2020, Islington will be a starkly polarised and unequal borough. Despite these challenges this report shows that local actors can make a difference in the face of change. It identifies key areas in which action can make a positive difference to the lives of Islington residents, now and in the long run.

This report is about poverty and inequality in Islington. Through interviews with low and high earners in the borough, as well as statistical analysis of key trends, Distant neighbours explores:

In contrast to its image of boutique shops, top-end restaurants, and a thriving night life, Islington has long been a borough of entrenched poverty and wide inequalities. In 2008, Cripplegate Foundation’s report Invisible Islington painted a rich picture of the lives of the borough’s lower-income residents. It showed how people were struggling with worklessness, debt, social isolation, and poor physical and mental health. Our research suggests that over the last five years poverty has deepened and inequality has widened.

The issues raised in this report are both wide ranging and complex. However, action to address poverty and inequality in Islington is possible. Cripplegate Foundation, keen to learn about residents’ experiences of poverty and inequality and thus inform its future work, commissioned this report. Based on our findings we identify three broad areas for action. These range from opportunities for immediate local action, to longer-term preventative measures, to advocating for wider change beyond the borough.

Issues

Inequality

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