Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/857/20750
Them & Us
A nice earner
One person not unduly worried about paying their gas bill is Tesco top dog Dave Lewis. In just six months the new head of the faltering retail giant was paid £4.1 million.
Meanwhile, most supermarket workers were forced to claim tax credits in order to supplement their meagre wages.
Nearly a third of the country's population - some 19.3 million people - suffered poverty (ie under 60% of median income) between 2010 and 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics. That proportion was higher than the EU average of 25%.
'Persistent poverty' in the UK was one of the lowest in Europe in 2013, but its overall poverty rate was ranked 13th out of 28 member states. It seems that while people in the UK had the highest exit rate from poverty it also had one the highest entry rates, suggesting that many workers are only one pay cheque away from poverty.
It's only a small ex-council flat but one pied a terre in London is on the property market for a cool £1.15 million. But if your pocket won't stretch that far there's another flat in the same 1960s block on sale for a mere £1 million.
There may not be enough room in the flat to swing a proverbial cat but there is a Stella McCartney boutique downstairs on the high street and you're a stone's throw from the V&A museum.
The only remaining council tenant on the same floor, Annette Greenwood, said: "The houses in this area were built for a purpose. They were for the poorest people, the most vulnerable and the people who we all rely on but can't afford to buy property in central London.
"Their homes have just turned into a way for people to make more and more money while ordinary people are forced out."
Cost of living
Unaffordable housing, high transport and childcare costs mean that one-third of people living in the capital have insufficient income for a decent standard of living, according to a Loughborough University report. That figure rises to 43% of Londoners with families. Even those living in council or housing association accommodation have experienced a 33% rise in rents since 2008.
Researchers estimate that the minimum income needed for a single person living in a studio flat is £27,100 a year. However, the 'living wage' of £9.15 an hour would only generate just over £19,000 a year.
Last year Tory MP Mark Simmonds complained that he couldn't live in London on £120,000 a year.
In The Socialist 27 May 2015:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
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