|English: Ladbroke Grove Looking north towards the railway bridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Striking new figures show that the proportion of households classified as either poor or wealthy has grown across the United Kingdom in recent decades, leaving a shrinking middle. But it is in London that the trend is by far the most pronounced.
London is now a city of contradictions. It is the richest part of the country, but also its most unequal, with the highest levels of poverty. It is home to some of the world’s most expensive real estate, but has the highest proportion of renters of any area of the country, many of whom are locked out of home ownership. It has some of the world’s best teaching hospitals, but suffers from profound health inequalities.
As with every cosmopolitan you get an exaggerated microcosm of the country at large, distilling its inequality to concentrated extremes.
Most of London’s poor have jobs, many of which do not pay the minimum wage thanks to unscrupulous companies using tricks like keeping tips to top up wages. They don’t bat an eyelid at commuting over two hours on three buses to get to their office-cleaning jobs because they can’t afford the tube, or because they need to start at 4am so they can clear out by the time the office workers arrive. They live with the fear their teenage children will get caught up in the gang violence that barely touches the professionals who walk the same streets in Peckham, Ladbroke Grove and King’s Cross. Yes, London has wonderful free museums and parks – but who has time to visit them when you’re trying to hold down two or three jobs?
Read more about it: