One of London's biggest social housing trusts has found that despite more social housing tenants having jobs, they are worse-off than before.
The inaugural survey of 111,000 Peabody residents across the capital found that despite the unemployment rate on its estates falling to to 10.9% in the first quarter of 2018, compared 14% in the same quarter the year before, that households are earning less.
The Peabody Index, which is to be published every year, says that on average the income of their tenants has fallen by £400 over the year, showing the impact of low wages and the increased cost of living in the capital.
Peabody says this growth in employment follows a trend, with 88% of Londoners "economically active" in 2018's first quarter, compared with 78% in the same quarter in 2008.
The housing trust, founded more than 150 years ago, has estates in Hillingdon , Yeading , Eastcote , Wembley , Willesden , Kilburn , White City , North Kensington , Queen's Park , Shepherd's Bush , two estates in East Acton , Mayfair, Fulham and Hammersmith , three in Paddington , four in Chelsea , five in Westminster and six in Pimlico .
The estate's most common professions included teachers and teaching assistants, childminders, hospital workers, bus drivers, construction workers and carers.
Meanwhile 8% of residents were employed in zero-hour contracts, where employers are not obliged to provide the worker with any set number of hours of work. A further 3% worked as Uber drivers and Deliveroo riders.
Weekly disposable income, which here means income after taxes, for social housing tenants in the capital was £406 per week in April 2018. This figure is down 1.1% on July 2017, when the average was £413.
This equates to a £389 decline in real household disposable income from July 2017 to April 2018.
As a result, despite more tenants being in work, more than one in 10 (13%) admit to skipping meals, while 35% have cut back on heating and 41% have made cuts to their food shopping.
Further concerns highlighted in the Peabody Index include the findings that more than 70% or tenants in social housing have no savings or investments to fall back on, or rely on later in life.
Hundreds of residents surveyed were using food banks, while some were having to use high-cost weekly purchase stores, using payday loan providers who can charge exorbitant interest rates, or even rely on loan sharks or unlicensed lenders in order to make ends meet.
Peabody Chief Executive Brendan Sarsfield said: “Low-income Londoners are working hard, doing jobs that literally keep the city running. They are the engine of growth, contributing £15bn a year to the capital’s economy, yet more than half those surveyed are worse off than a year ago because of low-wages, rising transport costs and the spiralling cost of living in the capital.
“This trend represents a real risk to London's continuing growth and underlines the need for more low-rent housing. This would boost household income and the economy, putting more money back in the pocket of hard-working Londoners.”