Child poverty is real price of hous­ing

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION - DR ONKAR SA­HOTA Lon­don Assem­bly Mem­ber for Eal­ing & Hilling­don

RUN­AWAY hous­ing costs in the cap­i­tal are mas­sively push­ing up the num­ber of chil­dren liv­ing in poverty of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics showed re­cently.

Of­fi­cial mea­sure­ments of child poverty, which ex­clude hous­ing costs, sug­gest that in Lon­don some 300,000 chil­dren live in poverty. When you add in hous­ing costs how­ever the num­ber rock­ets by 400,000 – mean­ing al­most three quar­ters of a mil­lion chil­dren in Lon­don con­demned to live in poverty.

Over the past four years the typ­i­cal rent in Lon­don rose by 17 pert cent. In real money, that’s about £2,500 ex­tra peo­ple have to shell out ev­ery year and is a ma­jor cause of the prob­lem.

In 1999 the gov­ern­ment set it­self the chal­lenge of erad­i­cat­ing child poverty by 2020. The sad re­al­ity is that child poverty re­mains far from ex­tinct, par­tic­u­larly in Lon­don where hous­ing costs are spi­ralling.

It’s clear that by not tak­ing hous­ing costs into ac­count, the of­fi­cial child poverty fig­ures show only the tip of the ice­berg.

What we need is real ac­tion to tackle the hous­ing cri­sis in Lon­don – in­clud­ing bet­ter reg­u­la­tions of pri­vate land­lords, a mas­sive drive to in­crease house build­ing and in­vest­ing more in af­ford­able hous­ing.

Oth­er­wise, as the child poverty fig­ures show, it’s not just those strug­gling to get on the hous­ing lad­der that will suf­fer.

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