London city! The business capital of Europe, the most visited capital of the world and home of the super-rich (106 billionaires). Renowned for its four UNESCO world heritage sites, the 250 festivals that take place here every year, black cabs, West End shopping, Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace and the list goes on.
With a population of more than 8.6 million people, the world's most diverse city is also home to 46 percent of the U.K.'s ethnic minority population and over 300 languages are spoken here.
London is very much a country of its own, the fact that London contributes almost a fifth of the U.K.'s economy and has an economy greater than other European countries such as Belgium and Sweden. As a Londoner, I am very proud of our 'booming' city and have many positive things to say about it, but there are also things that I must say I am not so proud about. I believe that there are a range of issues which I pray that our current Mayor (if he's not busy being a MP in Uxbridge or Cabinet Minister of course) can address or most likely the next Mayor of London elected in May 2016.
Firstly, we have a MASSIVE housing issue in our capital. Social housing is shrinking despite its growing need and private renting is taking almost half of the average tenant's income due to greedy rouge landlords. There is a rise in the number of people living in overcrowded homes or poor living conditions and even though we need to build 800,000 new homes by 2021 to keep up with the housing demand, London is still not building more than 20,000 homes a year.
Homelessness is also a big problem, a recent report by Crisis shows that the number of people who are homeless in London have risen by almost 80 percent since 2010. This is devastating given the fact that people who are sleeping rough on the streets are 35 times more likely to commit suicide than the average person and 13 times more likely to be a victim of violence crime than the general public.
If that's not bad enough, London is home to 80 percent of the national homeless children population and children in London are 20 times more likely to be in temporary accommodation than any other child across.
If that's not bad enough London is home to 80 percent of the national homeless children population and children in London are 20x more likely to be in temporary accommodation compared to children in the rest of the UK.
To add insult to injury, most of the population cannot even afford to buy a so-called "affordable home" here either. For a young Londoner and first-time home buyer like myself I would have to be earning at least £77,000 a year to get onto the property ladder - absolutely ridiculous. This sort of yearly income is unobtainable by many people living in the capital not just young people. Given that the average person in London only earns £34,000 a year - home ownership for many Londoners is surely a myth. Even if you do not want to buy a home here and just rent a property, the average price of renting is rapidly rising.
To add insult to injury to the housing crisis in London, most of the population can't even afford to buy a so-called "affordable home" either. For a young Londoner and first-time home buyer like myself I would have to be earning at least £77,000 to year to get onto the property ladder, which is absolutely ridiculous. This sort of yearly income is unobtainable by many people living in the capital, let alone a young people. Given that the average person in London only earns £34,000 a year, home ownership for many Londoners is surely a myth. Even if you don't want to buy a home here and just want to rent a property, the average price of renting is rapidly rising.
Another big issue for many Londoners like myself is the cost of living. Let's take a look at transport fares for example. Gone are days when I used to pay 40p (YES 40p, for those of you too young to remember) to get on the bus. Now I need £1.50. Transport fares are rising every single year and the wages of Londoners are not. This means that people have less disposable income and are having their wages squeezed. Why cant we get transport prices frozen or reduced, especially when nothing is being done to ensure that salaries can afford to keep up with these constant rising prices.
Another big issue for many Londoners like myself is the cost of living. Let's take a look at transport fares for example. Gone are days when I used to pay 40p (YES 40p for those too young to remember) to get on the bus. Now I need £1.50. Transport fares are always rising every year and the wages of Londoners are not. This means that people have less disposable income and are having their wages squeezed.
If our aim is to incentivise more people to get on public transport than drive vehicles, how does constantly increasing the prices of public transport help? The fares are going up but the level of service is not (if you ask me anyway) so why are we paying more?
Many Londoners are also being priced out of London due to the cost of living and having to relocate elsewhere in the UK, particularly those on low-incomes who cannot afford to rent a home here even when offered housing benefits. The rising costs of food and utility bills are also alarming for many Londoners who are getting less for the pound in their pocket.
Lastly, despite London being home to thousands of millionaires, over 100 billionaires and the business centre of Europe, poverty is a big problem here. We still have 37% of children in the capital living in poverty. There are as many poor children in London as in all of Scotland and Wales combined. Over half of working-age adults and children in poverty in London live in a family where someone is in paid work. What is also shameful is that with all the prosperity going on in our capital, almost 65,000 people are using food banks to survive.
Considering the points I have made above about the housing crisis, cost of living crisis and poverty crisis we have in London, I would really appreciate if one of the potential mayoral candidates of our city could tell me how they would step up and address these issues affecting our city and the lives of millions of people living in our capital just like me. What are your solutions?