The 90 second Urbs briefing on renting in London
The number of new Londoners taking their final step to British citizenship has fallen to its lowest level since 2004.
Figures from the Home Office show that in 2015 some 37,118 adults attended a formal citizenship ceremony where they took an oath or affirmation of allegiance and received their certificate of citizenship. This is the lowest number since the ceremonies were first introduced in 2004 as the final and compulsory stage of the citizenship process.
Once a citizenship application is granted the Home Office sends out an invitation letter and an individual must attend a ceremony within three months.
The number attending in London has fallen by more than 7,000 on 2014 and is down by 43% from a highpoint in 2009, when more than 65,000 people attended ceremonies.
The ceremonies are organised by local authorities and were introduced by the government to foster the idea that gaining citizenship was an event to be celebrated rather than simply a bureaucratic process. Other countries including the USA, Canada and Australia do the same.
The first ever ceremony was carried out in Brent. Last year 1,885 people attended events there, the highest number in London, closely followed by Newham and Hounslow.
The lowest number of new citizens proclaiming their allegiance to Queen and country were in the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston and Bexley. The small resident population of the City of London welcomed 17 new members to its community in 2015.
The fall in London is reflected across the country. The number of citizenship ceremonies peaked nationally in 2013 but have fallen back in the past two years
London retains its position for welcoming the bulk of new Britons. Since 2004 around half of the ceremonies for the whole country took place in the capital. Last year it was 45% and 16 of the London boroughs each had more ceremonies than the whole of Wales.
The latest data from the Home Office for the number of applications granted, the stage ahead of the final ceremony, show that numbers may be going up. The national figures for the 12 months up to the end of June, which includes the period running up to the Brexit referendum, show that 40,000 more people gained British citizenship than in the 12 months to June 2015.
The figures do not show what impact this upturn has on London, but given the large proportion of applicants who make their home in the capital the numbers suggest that 2016 will see a rising number of ceremonies and new citizens after the drop in 2015.
The number of people in London suffering from diabetes will rocket by 40% over the next 20 years, according to forecasts from Public Health England.
Its figures show that in 2016 there are 638,000 people over 16 with diabetes. But rising rates coupled with a growing population means that this will go up by more than a quarter of million to 895,000 by 2035.
PHE says that around 90% of the new cases will be Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by lifestyle factors and linked to obesity. It says these cases are preventable and tackling the problem is fundamental to the future of the health service.
John Newton of Public Health England said: “Developing diabetes in not an inevitable part of ageing. We have the opportunity through public health to reverse this trend and safeguard the health of the nation and the future of the NHS.”
The PHE forecasts reveals a wide discrepancy in rates across the capital. Brent has the highest rate of diabetes not only in London but in England with 11.5% of people with the condition today. Kingston has the lowest rate in England at 6.7%.
The highest rates after Brent are in Harrow, Redbridge and Ealing. The lowest, apart from Kingston, are in Richmond, Wandsworth and Islington.
Both Brent and Kingston will retain their positions as the boroughs with the highest and lowest rates in England by 2035. The rate in Brent will climb to 13.6% of the population.
The record in Ealing, Harrow and Redbridge will remain poor and Newham will be second only to Brent with a rate of 12.7%.
Kingston’s rate will rise to 7.6%, with neighbouring Richmond, plus Wandsworth and Islington remaining among the areas with lowest rates.
The data shows a worsening situation throughout London over the next two decades. Today there are seven boroughs where the prevalence of diabetes in the population is above 10%. By 2035 the rate is forecast to be one in ten or higher in 17 areas.
The biggest change in the rate of the condition between 2016 and 2035 is forecast to be in Tower Hamlets where the rate will go up by 24%. The borough is also expected to see the biggest growth in population in the coming decades, as reported by Urbs. The combination of these factors will place severe pressure on local health services.
Diabetes is caused by the inability of the body to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. It is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Sufferers may also develop kidney disease and foot ulcers, which can lead to amputation.
July 2016 was the most successful month for Santander Cycle hire since the bike-sharing scheme was first introduced in 2010.
A record 1.18 million bikes were hired across London last month, an average of 38,000 hires a for each day of the month. The data from Transport for London shows that on three days, 19th, 30th and 31st of July there were more than 46,000 hires. The average hire time was 23 minutes.
The monthly total beats the previous record for July 2014 by 5,200. Summer months always prove the most popular times and monthly hires were also over one million in May and just under in June. The number of hires in January and February this year was around half the July total.
The city bike scheme was introduced on 30th July 2010. In the first two days 12,000 bikes were hired and in the first month 340,000 as the scheme was rolled out across the boroughs and the docking stations became a familiar sight on the streets.
The data shows that the most popular day in the scheme’s six-year existence was 9th July last year when 73,000 bikes were hired. On the 6th August that year the second highest total was recorded of 64,000.
Mainline stations are the popular hire points, as previously reported by Urbs, as commuters arriving from outside London and make their way to work in the morning and afternoon rush hours.
But the hire data at major landmarks and parks also suggests that tourists may be the biggest users of the bikes, with routes across Hyde Park among the most popular. The data shows that weekends see the largest usage and the most popular weekday for hire is a Thursday.
The bike sharing scheme was introduced by Boris Johnson when he was Mayor and the bicycles became known as Boris bikes despite a sponsorship deal with Barclays. Santander took over sponsorship of the scheme last year, but the bikes have not gone on to be re-named Sadiq cycles.
The average response time for the fire service in 11 boroughs is longer than the 6-minute target set by the London Fire Brigade.
The latest data shows that the average response time for the capital as a whole is well within the target. In 2015 the average time it took from the fire brigade being alerted by a 999 operator to the first engine arriving at the scene was 5 minutes and 38 seconds.
The average is even faster in the City of London and the 13 boroughs that constitute inner London. But only 8 of the 19 outer London boroughs met the target in 2015. In 2014 it was 15. While the target is set for London as a whole the fire brigade says it aims to achieve this at borough level.
The slowest average response time is recorded in Hillingdon at 6 minutes and 45 seconds. The fastest is in Kensington and Chelsea, a full 2 minutes quicker at 4 minutes and 44 seconds. The response time in Lambeth is also under 5 minutes.
The response time is made up of two elements – the crew turn out time – how long it takes them to leave the fire station once alerted – and the travel time to the fire. The average turn out time for crews across London is 1 minute and 19 seconds, although crews in Newham have got the average down to 1 minute and 3 seconds. The London Fire Brigade say that variation in turn out times is due to the layout of stations with times a little longer in older stations.
Travel times vary according to time of day and traffic conditions but also according to the location of fire stations. The LFB says that the clustering of resources in inner London mean faster response times than in the outer areas of the city.
The London Fire Brigade deals with around 100,000 incidents per year. The data shows that the attendance time of the first appliance was 6 minutes or under in 65% of calls.
The Brigade has 155 fire engines at 102 fire stations across London. 10 stations were controversially closed due to budget cuts in 2014 and a study by statistician Dr Benjamin Taylor at Lancaster University found that fewer than 50% of calls now met the 6 minute target in the areas around the closed station.
The London Fire Brigade says that it is committed to a principle that “Londoners should have equal entitlement to the fastest possible attendance times.”
Central London congestion is blamed for the slow down in buses, now running at an average speed or 9.3 mph. But the 650 and 656 buses, both leaving from Emerson Park School are running at just 6 miles per hour and are among the 10 slowest routes run by Transport for London in the last financial year.
Data from TfL for average bus speeds for April 2015 to March 2016 shows that the slowest route is the 15H from Charing Cross to the Tower of London. But the H in the title gives a clue as to why. This is a heritage route with original Routemaster buses running along part of the course of the proper 15, along The Strand, Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill and on to the Tower. The tourists on board may appreciate its slow pace as they edge past St Paul’s.
TfL runs 675 routes and tracks the speed of buses each way along them, plus night buses. Of the 1762 bus routes speeds recorded for the last financial year, 563 were below the 9.3 mph average. Most of the slowest journeys cross central London.
|London’s 10 slowest buses|
|15H||Charing Cross to Tower||4.9|
|15H||Tower to Charing Cross||5.1|
|14||Putney Heath to Warren St Station||5.6|
|11||Liverpool St Station to Fulham Broadway||5.6|
|650||Emerson Park School to Cedar Hill, Hornchurch||5.9|
|11||Fulham Broadway to Liverpool St Station||5.9|
|26||St Mary of Eton, Hackney to Waterloo Station||6.0|
|69A||Canning Town to Walthamstow Bus Station||6.0|
|38||Clapton Pond to Victoria Bus Station||6.1|
|656||Emerson Park School to Gallows Corner, Hornchurch||6.1|
Speeds are calculated across the full range of the route and many buses will have a much more varied pace as they cross parts of the city. Looking at speeds across the boroughs shows that the centre is uniformly slow but things get better the further out you get.
Havering is one of the few areas where average speeds get above 12 mph despite having 2 of the slowest buses.
In a recent report the former chairman of the government’s panel on integrated transport, Professor David Begg, said that bus speeds are declining faster in London than any other urban area in the country. He says that the decision by the previous mayor, Boris Johnson, to reduce road capacity by 25% with the introduction of cycle superhighways without any measures to curtail traffic is partly to blame.
The new mayor, Sadiq Khan, has made buses a priority in his first weeks in office. As he mentioned throughout his campaign, his father used to drive the 44. His first act as mayor was to introduce the Hopper fare and he has announced a general freeze in prices. Londoners welcome cheaper travel. Making it faster may be a much bigger challenge.
The surge from the States helped make 2015 another record-breaking year for the capital as, predicted by Urbs. Data from Visit Britain shows that the capital welcomed 18.5 million people from around the world for leisure, education, business and family visits.
2.1 million of those visitors, or 11.5%, came from America, narrowly beating the French, although visitor numbers from France were also slightly up on 2014. Polish visitors pushed into the top 10 for the first time in 2015.
As well as being the largest group, Americans also spent the most. Of the £11.9 billion the city generated from tourism, nearly a tenth came from American wallets alone last year.
London’s highest spending European visitors were French, with a total spend of £762 million. But on an individual basis the big spenders are from the Gulf countries of the Middle East. While the average London visitor spent £640, those from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia spent nearly five times that amount.
The ease of a hop across the Channel or a trip through the Tunnel means the French still account for more of London’s short-stayers than anyone else. 1.2 million French people came to the city for ‘le weekend’ and a trip lasting one to three nights.
The longest stayers came from Australia – 1.57 million of them stuck around for at least two weeks following presumably long-haul journeys for most of them. Despite the Australian’s extended time here, they trail other countries closer to home on tourist numbers and expenditure, including Germany, Italy and Spain.
As home to most of the UK’s biggest tourist attractions, it is no surprise that London’s main draw for visitors continues to be as a holiday destination. Half of those who came to the city from abroad did so for leisure. Internationally, London also remains a popular destination to do business, with 20% of those coming here on work commitments.
Irish and Polish family networks around London also seem to have grown in strength in the past year. Not only did their visitor numbers increase by almost one third and one fifth respectively, but as many as 39% of Irish and Polish visitors were in the capital to see family and relatives.
The proportion of young people in work in London is at its highest rate for nearly a decade. Employment rates have been climbing steadily since the recession and annual figures from the ONS show that 457,000 16-24 year olds were in work in 2015.
Although London presents financial challenges for millennials who want to live and work here, the data from the Annual Population Survey reveals they are finding work at a better rate than at any time since 2006.
It has taken almost a decade for the employment rate of London’s young workforce to hit similar heights as 2006 when 47.4% of them had jobs. After a drop in youth employment rates following the financial crisis of 2008, the picture has gradually become brighter with 47.1% of the capital’s 16-24 year olds now working – a 3.8% increase from the previous year.
The rate of increase for young women in particular has been higher with 5% more in jobs than 2014.
The steady increase in youth employment over the past six years may have contributed to a drop in the proportion of 16-24 year olds who are NEET status (not in employment, education or training). In 2014, 5000 fewer young people were NEET throughout the capital compared to the previous year as the total number of youngsters with jobs increased by 17,400.
At the end of 2015 London had the lowest proportion of England’s 16-24 year olds who were NEET at 9.4%
The proportion of 16-24 year olds in work in the capital is below the national average of 53.5% but London has historically had a much higher rate of people of this age remaining in full-time education than other regions, keeping them out of the workforce.
The revelation that a quarter of London’s primary schools are in areas that had dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide in 2010 is a deeply worrying statistic and led to accusations from the newly elected mayor, Sadiq Khan, that his predecessor, Boris Johnson, had buried a 2013 report.
It was commissioned by the Greater London Authority and its findings make alarming reading, especially for those living and working in inner London. More than 2.2 million people were exposed to level of NO₂ above the EU safe limit in 2010 and this included 137,000 children in 433 primary schools.
But the report also contained some surprisingly positive projections on the speed at which the exposure levels will fall by 2020. The projections were based on emissions data from the GLA and pollution mapping data from the Environmental Research Group at King’s College. The report concluded that by the end of 2015 the population exposed to harmful levels of NO₂ will have fallen to just over a million and will drop significantly further by 2020 with air quality objectives achieved in outer London, at least.
NO₂ is particularly harmful to children and the report identified 433 schools, mostly in central London, where levels were unsafe in 2010 – the red dots on the map below.
The situation is considerably better now, if the projections made by the researchers are correct. In 2010, 137,000 children aged 4-11 were affected but that should now be below 50,000. By 2020 the situation will improve further.
The researchers also looked at pollution compared to deprivation levels, giving the report added political potency. They found that most of the schools with the highest levels of NO₂ were in districts with the highest levels of deprivation.
This is not due to any causal link between deprivation and pollution but due to the location of the schools near to very busy main roads. These areas may be home to more deprived families because property and rental costs are lower close to busy highways.
Many of the worst affected schools are in areas where poor people are resident but they’re also very close to where bankers and brokers work or where theatre-goers flock each evening – this is a central London problem. High nitrogen dioxide levels are bad for everyone, and as previously reported by Urbs, responsible for thousands of deaths.
There’s a lot of politics in this row over whether the bad news in the report was suppressed. The new mayor is seeking to show himself as the new broom. He has hit the ground running on the environment saying that he’ll extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone beyond the Congestion Charge area, as far as the North and South Circular roads, and he’ll introduce it early, in 2017. Drivers of polluting vehicles will face an extra charge for entering the zone.
As the ‘buried’ report shows, London has a big pollution problem but is heading in the right direction. The task for the mayor will be balancing that progress with the economic growth of the capital as more jobs and people add to the environmental challenge.
On the political map of Britain, London has long been an island of Labour red in a South East sea of Conservative blue. London has traditionally been Labour at its centre and Tory on its fringes.
The mayoral elections underlined that pattern, with some significant additional wins for Sadiq Khan in previously Conservative ground of Merton and Wandsworth, and Ealing and Hillingdon.
The other significant change is the increase in Labour support in the central areas that have seen the fastest population rise. The constituency of City and East is a good example. It contains Tower Hamlets and Newham, the boroughs forecast to grow fastest in the coming decade. In these areas Sadiq Khan achieved 60% of first preference votes and the greater population and high turnout delivered nearly 20,000 more Labour voters than in 2012.
It was a similar story in the North East constituency which covers Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest. Khan again achieved a 60% share and added 36,000 votes on 2012.
Zac Goldsmiths best performance was in the Bexley and Bromley. He out-polled Sadiq Khan here by two votes to one, but his number of votes was down on Boris Johnson’s haul in 2012 and his share was 51% compared to 62% for the Conservatives four years ago.
In Havering and Redbridge, and his home South West constituency, which includes Richmond, Hounslow and Kingston, he increased the number of votes, but not in Croydon and Sutton or the West Central constituency covering Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham.
In all 5 areas won by the Goldsmith, the Conservative share of the vote was down on 2012. This might be attributed to the success of Boris Johnson as a larger-than-life character who worked across traditional party loyalties. Many, including leading Conservatives, have criticised the Goldsmith campaign, with its attacks on Khan, as negative and off putting for voters.
But the voting patterns indicate something more than personality politics and suggest an underlying sentiment. A breakdown of all first preference votes into blocks representing broad party positions shows that parties of the left out-performed the parties of the right.
And the second preference votes also tell a story. In the final run off Khan and Goldsmith were awarded the second preference votes of all the other candidates. Khan won convincingly here. But we can also see from the data how the second preferences of Khan and Goldsmith voters would have been deployed if either had not made the final round. A quarter of Goldsmith voters marked Khan as their second preference. Only 14% of Khan voters put a second cross next to Goldsmith. The main beneficiary of second votes were the Greens, who sit on the left.
After two terms of a Tory mayor the capital has a Labour politician as leader again. The city population is forecast to be over 9 million by the time he is up for re-election. The evidence from this election is that a growing number of people is central London is good news for Labour and Sadiq Khan.