London boroughs are redoubling efforts to support residents as new polling for London Councils reveals anxiety about the cost of living has reached new heights in the capital.
According to London Councils’ annual survey of Londoners conducted by Ipsos, 77% of Londoners believe cost of living is one of the most important issues facing the capital. This is the highest ever level of concern for any issue recorded on this question in the past decade, and an increase in 15 percentage points since last year.
Women, private and social renters, people aged 45-54 and people in C2DE households (skilled and unskilled manual occupations and those long-term dependent on state benefits) were among those most likely to say they were concerned about the cost of living as an issue facing the capital.
Around one in four Londoners say they are finding it difficult to manage financially these days, with highest levels of worry around paying energy/utility bills (67%) and covering an unexpected household expense (64%).
45% say they have not turned on the heating when they would usually have and 39% are socialising less due to the rising cost of living.
Just under one in four (23%) have used savings to get by and one in five (19%) say their household income has decreased.
Renters in the capital are under particular strain, with nearly three in five Londoners (59%) living in private or social rented accommodation saying their rent has increased this year and a similar proportion (57%) saying they worry this will happen when they next renew their tenancy.
Most Londoners feel comfortable asking family or Citizen’s Advice for support with the rising cost of living, but feel less comfortable approaching a local foodbank, charity or their borough for help.
In response to the huge amount of concern Londoners are expressing and the difficult situations many are finding themselves in, London boroughs across the capital are putting cost of living support front and centre.
Boroughs are proactively engaging with the voluntary sector, local businesses, schools, the NHS and other community partners to reshape existing and new services to ensure those in need are able to access advice, emergency funds, food and warmth with no judgement attached.
Lambeth Council has announced a £2.7 million fund to provide extra support to struggling households this winter, on top of the £5.7 million already committed to help residents cope with rising cost of living
Kensington and Chelsea Council has set up 24 local venues as Warm and Safe Spaces, and produced an interactive map to show where your nearest one is.
Richmond Council held a public Q&A to provide information on dealing with rising cost of living, with panellists from the council, Citizen’s Advice, Richmond AID and South West London Energy Advice Partnership.
Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils, said:
“Over two thirds of Londoners are worried about the impact of the cost of living crisis. People who used to donate to foodbanks are now relying on foodbanks for support, the average rent has increased by 15% and as the cold weather hits, energy prices remain high.
“The figures are stark and reflect the reality that councils across London are seeing in their communities. As we did during the pandemic, local government has once again stepped up to do everything we can to support our residents through this crisis. We are opening up warm spaces, offering financial support and providing advice and guidance to those in need.
“The next few months will be critical for families across the capital who are already struggling. We stand ready to work with government to meet this challenge and ensure the right support gets to those who need it.”
Notes to editors:
Ipsos conducted an online survey of over 1,000 residents aged 18-75 living in Greater London using Ipsos’s Online Access Panel, a panel of pre-recruited individuals who have agreed to take part in research.
Fieldwork took place between 27 October and 9 November 2022 inclusive.
Quotas were set by age, gender, work status and inner/outer London, with final data also weighted to these profiles along with housing tenure and ethnicity to match the profile of the wider London population.