October 11th

09.00 - 19.00

“Flying against gravity” The experiences and perceptions of people with lived experience of poverty in London

To mark the start of London Challenge Poverty week and against the backdrop of the biggest cut to benefits since the welfare state’s creation, rising prices inflicting huge pressure on household budgets and the continued aftershocks of the pandemic, 4in10 and the Greater London Authority have today (Monday 11 October) published new participant-led research, commissioned from ClearView Research, looking at Londoners’ attitudes and perceptions about poverty in their city.

A poll carried out among a representative sample of Londoners found that:

  • Two thirds (68%) of Londoners are either more concerned or much more concerned about the impact of poverty in London as a result of the pandemic;
  • Four in five (85%) of Londoners believe that politicians should do more to prevent and reduce poverty in London; and
  • High costs are now seen to be the biggest drivers of poverty in the capital. Childcare costs were as the biggest driver (22%), with general cost of living identified as the second (18%) most significant cause of poverty.

The polling is accompanied by qualitative research which provides a detailed picture of what it is like to live in financial hardship in London today. Participants describe how they feel their lives are defined by a constant sense of instability and concern about money which leaves them feeling anxious, frustrated, isolated and often lonely.  Londoners spoke often of their aspirations and ambitions that they managed to keep alive despite the barriers put in their way by the inadequate welfare system and rising cost of living; one participant described navigating these pressures as feeling as if they are “flying against gravity”.

The Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda focuses on the inequalities that exist between London and other parts of the country but largely ignores the inequalities that persist within London itself. This report shows that to genuinely improve prospects for the diverse communities facing financial challenges in London, decisions-makers need to work more closely with these communities to listen to their experiences, design support systems that meet their needs rather than trap them in poverty and help them to realise their aspirations.