A third of 10 and 11-year-olds obese in two areas of London

shutterstock_291654485-2London’s record on childhood obesity has been poor and getting worst for some time. But data for small areas released by Public Health England raise new levels of concern as in two neigbbourhoods a third of the 10 and 11-year old children are now obese.

In the electoral ward of Camberwell Green, Southwark 34% of Year 6 children are obese. In Hoxton West in Hackney its 33%.  Only one other area of England has a higher level – 35% in Sutton-on-Sea in Lincolnshire.

The Public Health England data covers nearly 7,500 electoral wards in England and it shows that six of the ten worst areas for childhood obesity among Year 6 children are in London.

Obesity Year 6 wards-2

It’s a similar pattern for children in Reception, aged 4 and 5, where Woodberry Down ward in Hackney has the worst record in the country and a rate that is double the England average. Six other neighbourhoods in the capital are also among the worst ten in England for this age group.

Obesity reception ward-2

This small area data is gathered by Public Health England to help target resources to combat child weight problems.

The poor record on obesity for primary school children is reflected more broadly at borough level and underlines that London has one of the most severe problems in the country.

At Reception age,  six of the ten local authorities with the highest rates are in London.  The highest level local authority average rate in the England is nearly 14% in Barking and Dagenham. Greenwich, Newham, Hackney, Southwark and Tower Hamlets all have rates of 12% or above.

The obesity rates in these boroughs doubles for Year 6 children. Enfield and Westminster also have more than a quarter of Year 6 children classified as obese.  Eight of the ten local authorities in England with the highest obesity rates for 10 and 11-year olds are in London.

Source data

See also

How the obesity rate doubled for the class of 2007

Childhood obesity highest in London

Thousands of children sent to hospital because of tooth decay

 

Landlords putting the brakes on rent rises

Modern flats

The rise in London rental prices is slowing down.

In a bit of good news for tenants and bad news for private landlords, figures from the Office for National Statistics show that rents in London are now rising slower than the average for the rest of England.

In the 12 month to the March this year rents in the capital had gone up by 1.6% compared to 2.4% across the rest of England, according to data from the ONS Index of Private Housing Rental Prices. This is in line with a trend in the year-on-year figures since November last year when London slipped behind average rise for the rest of country.

Before August 2015,  London rental prices were rising much faster than elsewhere.

rent rise march 2017

A regional breakdown of the data shows that the 1.6% rate of increase in London is the same as Yorkshire and Humberside. Rents in five other regions of the England are now climbing faster than the capital.  This includes the East and West Midlands, East of England, the South West and the South East. The increase in the South East over the period was 3.4%.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says that the demand for rental property across the country remains steady but the number of new landlords instructing letting agents is down for the sixth month in a row.  This may increase pressure on prices, but RICS says that London is the exception to this. In its most recent monthly survey of the residential property market  it says that rents will continue to ‘soften’ in coming months and then remain broadly static for the year ahead.

While that may be a welcome forecast for more than a quarter of Londoners who rent their homes from private landlords, the amount they pay each month is still more than double the average for the rest of the UK.

Source data

See also

What you need to know about renting in London

Families face the biggest premiums for renting homes in the capital

More “affordable” homes but the rents prove unaffordable for many

London cheaper option for expats in global cost of living rankings

Credit card payment-2Living in London as an expat has become a more attractive choice on the basis of the cost of living in 375 global cities.

London has moved down from 12th to be 17th most expensive city to live and work as an expatriate in the annual rankings by HR and consulting company Mercer.  But it is still the most expensive city in Europe with the exception of those in Switzerland – Zurich, Geneva and Bern are higher up the cost league.

Other UK cities have also become comparatively cheaper.  Aberdeen has move down to 85 from 82 last year and Birmingham is 96th in 2016 compared to 80th in 2015.  Mercer say that the strength of the pound against the dollar in the past 12 months has been a factor as dollars are used as the base currency for calculations.

The most expensive city in the world for an expat is Hong Kong, according to Mercer research. Last year’s most expensive city, Luanda, drops to second place.  Five of the top ten are Asian cities, three of them in China.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2016 – 10 most expensive
City Country Continent
1 Hong Kong China Asia
2 Luanda Angola Africa
3 Zurich Switzerland Europe
4 Singapore Singapore Asia
5 Tokyo Japan Asia
6 Kinshasa Dem Republic of Congo Africa
7 Shanghai China Asia
8 Geneva Switzerland Europe
9 N’Djamena Chad Africa
10 Beijing China Asia

In Europe, apart from the Swiss cities and London, the only cities in the top 50 globally are  Copenhagen, Paris and Dublin.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2016 – Europe’s most expensive
City Country
Zurich Switzerland
Geneva Switzerland
Bern Switzerland
London UK
Copenhagen Denmark
Paris France
Milan Italy
Vienna Austria
Rome Italy
Oslo Norway

The survey looks at the cost of 200 items in each city including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.  The cost of housing helped push Hong Kong to the top of the rankings, but London comes out as expensive for a number of everyday purchases.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 16.36.22

Source data

See also

London expensive? Not compared to being an expat in Luanda

How London compares for the cost of public transport

London may win for iPhone earning power over Poland but cost of living much higher

Single mothers in London are biggest group hit by benefits cap

children legs

Single parents have been the hardest hit since the benefits cap was introduced two years ago. More than 20,000 in London have had their weekly benefits cut.

The impact on lone parents has been felt more in London, where 62% of capped households are single parents, compared with 56% across the country. Nine out of ten lone parents are women.

Single parent households capped-2

The benefits cap was introduced in April 2013.  It limits the total weekly support to £500 for a couples, with or without children, and single parents. For individuals without a child it is £350. The weekly allowance includes income support, jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit and child benefit.

Many regions of the country have higher rates of people claiming out of work benefits than London yet 45% of the households capped over the last 2 years have been in capital. The benefits bill in London is pushed up by housing benefits claims that result from high rental costs.  90% of the families with two or three children that have been capped are in London. Elsewhere in the country it is easier for a family of this size to rent a home without housing benefit.  Outside London it is mostly larger families, with four children or more who are losing benefits.

The majority of households capped in London lost £50 or under from their weekly benefits but 119 have had £400 or more taken out of their claim.  Most of these were in Brent and Ealing, the two boroughs that saw most households capped.  The fewest capped households are in the more affluent areas in the south west of the city.

Benefits cap map-2

More families are likely to see their benefits cut this autumn when the cap is lowered. Currently a family can claim up to £26,000 a year. This will be reduced to just under £23,000 or £442 per week.

Source data

See also

 

Elderly show wealth divide – 75,000 not claiming pension, more rely on benefits

Families face the biggest premiums for renting homes in the capital

More “affordable” homes but the rents prove unaffordable for many

 

London’s unique language landscape where 26% don’t speak English at home

crowd backs turnedMore than a quarter of Londoners don’t speak English at home.  The latest figures, for 2015, show that the proportion of people who choose another language as their first choice for speaking to family has risen to 26%.

This is a uniquely London phenomenon. Across the UK the rate is just 8.5%.  It is highest in the West Midland, where there is a significant immigrant population and in Wales, where Welsh speakers affect the numbers.

Not speaking English chart

The figures from the Office for National Statistics, based upon its Labour Force Survey,  reveal that in Newham 58% of people are using a language other than English at home. As previous data analysis by Urbs has shown, Newham is home to London’s largest Pakistani community and a significant Indian-born population.

In neighbouring Tower Hamlets, 41% are choosing another language at home above English.  The borough has the largest number of Bangladeshi-born people in the capital.

Not speaking English map

In north London, 45% in Harrow and 43% in Brent will speak other languages ahead of English among the family.  Both boroughs have large Indian-born populations.

Ealing is home to London’s largest Polish-born population, and a significant Indian-born community, which may explain why 38% of people use a language other than English at home.

The rates are only at or below the national average in 2 boroughs, Richmond and Havering.

According to the latest population estimates, 37% of Londoners, or 3 million people, were foreign-born while 23% or 2 million people are not British citizens.

This is leading to a multi-lingual city full of bi-lingual people.  Department of Education data, reported by Urbs, shows that nearly half the primary school children and 40% of the secondary pupils in London do not speak English as their first language. In some boroughs three quarters of the students speak English as a second language.

The concern for social inclusion is those who speak no English at all. Data from the last census in 2011 revealed that there are 45,000 people, mostly women, who say that they cannot speak the language.  The Prime Minister has announced a £20 million programme of English tuition but was criticised for his targeting of Muslim women, although they are the largest group.

Source data

See also

Our multi-lingual city – English second language for half of primary pupils

East London likely focal point for PM’s English tuition for Muslim women

London is more diverse than the UN or Fifa

Poles and Pakistanis help shape the multi-cultural make up of the city

Rent strike highlights students’ plight but many young people are worse off

montage 7Students at UCL are holding a rent strike to try to force the university to cut accommodation charges. They want their rent at halls of residence reduced by 40%.

The group UCL Cut the Rent says that collectively they are withholding £250,000 until their demand is met.  They say that rents have increased by 56% since 2009 and accuse the university of profiteering.

The group says that many students struggle to pay the rent, pushing them into debt and poverty which affects their studies.  While students may be struggling financially, the plight of young people trying to find affordable housing in the capital is a wider issue and the data for earnings and private rents shows that there may be many who are worse off than students.

The rent for a single room at UCL’s Max Rayne House student accommodation in Camden is £135.59 per week.  This is inclusive of bills such as heating, water rates and council tax.   At Ramsay Hall in Bloomsbury the weekly, single room rent is £209.79, and the rent here includes bills plus breakfast and dinner each weekday.

These fees may be beyond the reach of students, but if they were renting in the private sector in Camden they would be facing far higher rents.

The latest data from the Valuation Office Agency, which advises the government on property and rental values, shows that the median rent for a room in a shared house in Camden is £683 per month, or £157 weekly.

Some cheaper options may be available.  VOA data shows the rent in the cheapest 25% of property is £628 a month or £144 weekly.  These rents do not include any of the bills a person has to meet in private accommodation.

There is no doubt that a student with a maximum maintenance loan of £10,702 will struggle to live in London.  The loan is intended to cover living expenses for term time plus the Christmas and Easter holidays, as most students work over the summer. A maximum loan means an income of £267 for 40 weeks.  The rent, inclusive of bills, at Max Rayne House would absorb 50% of this income.

Most students supplement their loan income by working part time. A survey by Endsleigh Insurance of 4,600 students puts monthly earnings on average at £316 or a little over £70 a week.

For those not in education, someone over 21 earning minimum wage who is working full time, 40 hours per week, earns a gross salary of £13,936. Across the year that equates to £268 per week.  Renting a room in a shared house in one of the cheaper Camden properties would take up 53% of their gross earnings. After tax and and national insurance the net earnings would be closer to £230 per week, so the rent would be 62% of income. Then there are the bills on top.

For 18-20 year-olds, earnings are lower with the minimum wage at £5.30 an hour giving a weekly income of £212.  Once again, this would be subject to tax meaning net earnings of around £192.

People on minimum wage may be eligible for some support. The government’s recommended benefits calculator suggests that a 21-year-old working full time for minimum wage, living in a shared house in Camden would receive housing benefit of around £30 a week.

Cheaper accommodation can be found in other parts of the city. The VOA data suggests that the cheapest boroughs for renting a room in a shared house are Greenwich, Bromley, Croydon and Lambeth. But a lack of affordable housing for young people has meant that many remain living with parents or return to do so after further education.

As previously reported by Urbs, the proportion of people aged 20-34 living with parents has climbed to 24%.

living with parents

The rent strikers of UCL have highlighted the struggle for students faced with the cost of living in London.  They are undoubtedly finding it tough but life for the poorly paid young people who are not in education may be even tougher.

Valuation Office Agency source data

See also

Universities climb world rankings, but here’s how they score against the best

More “affordable” homes but the rents prove unaffordable for many

Where are all the young people? The in-out flow of 20-something Londoners

Universities marked down by their own students

Sportiest Londoners live in the wealthier south west boroughs

running woman-2People living in south west London are the sportiest in the city with a far higher proportion taking part in regular physical activity.

More than a quarter of the residents of Wandsworth do some form of sporting activity three times per week or more, according to survey data from Sport England.  But across London, in Newham and Barking and Dagenham, it is half that. And in Brent just 12% of people are doing that level of activity.

The south west corner of London has 4 boroughs, apart from Wandsworth, with large proportions of sporty people.  The data for Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond and Merton shows about a quarter of people doing 3 sessions per week.

But in Bexley and Greenwich it is just 15%. It’s 14% in Newham and Barking and Dagenham. Across the other side of the city, in the north west, it is 15% in Ealing, 13% in Hillingdon, but with 12% Brent has the lowest rate of people doing regular exercise.

sport particpation map

South west London is generally a more affluent area than other parts of the capital but the reason why people there are more active in sports is not clear. These boroughs also have low levels of obesity, while the proportion of people with severe weight problems is much higher in boroughs such as Hillingdon, Barking and Dagenham and Bexley, as previoulsy reported by Urbs.

The data gathered by Sport England through the Active People Survey also reveals that as a region London has the highest average rate for people doing 3 sessions or more of exercise.

Sport participation regional

The current rate of 18.3% is up from 17.2% 10 years ago.  While this growth has been modest the proportion of people doing no exercise has also seen little change, and remains stubbornly high. Across the capital 52% of the population does no sporting activity.  But in Newham it is 62% and in Barking and Dagenham it is 64%.

For these people, getting off the coach to take part in sport 3 times a week may be a very tall order.  A more modest achievement may be to find a way to get them to join the 38% of Londoners who take part in sport once a week.

Source data

See also

Sporty Londoners prefer solo exercise

Size matters – and it depends where you live

The way we spend our cash – more rent, less alcohol, healthier eating

Health and wealth – an East/West divide when it comes to a flu jab

 

 

East London likely focal point for PM’s English tuition for Muslim women

flag waving-2Almost 40% of the Muslim women who speak little or no English, targeted by David Cameron for language lessons, are living in London.

East London boroughs will need to be a particular focal point of the PM’s £20 million language tuition fund as around a third of Muslim women in Tower Hamlets and Hackney have English difficulties. Across the capital 17% of Muslim women speak little or no English.  They far outnumber the men.

Data from the 2011 census, which asked people about their religion and proficiency in English, shows that there are nearly 100,000 Muslims in London who say that their English is poor.  63% of them are women, the same proportion as for England.

A further 19,000 speak no English at all.  75% or 14,000 are women.  The majority are over 45.

No English Muslims

These figures also show that more than 2,000 of the non-English speaking Muslims are school-age children between 3 and 15.

Urbs looked at the data at borough level for Muslim women who are unable to speak any English. They are concentrated in East London in Tower Hamlets and Newham.

No English map

The Prime Minister has been criticised for singling out Muslim women in his pronouncement on the need for more English tuition to help combat extremism. Many people pointed out that his government previously cut the budget for English tuition for migrants.  While Muslim women are the largest group, people of other faiths also lack a command of English.

The census data shows that the second biggest faith group for non English speakers is Christians. More than 12,000 do not speak English, quite evenly divided between men and women. There are also more than 5,000 Hindus, largely women, who do not speak English.

non Englsih all faiths

The latest data for all these figures comes from 2011, since when there has been a large influx of people coming to work in the UK from Central and Southern Europe.  Many have limited ability in English.

The PM chose to target Muslim women in linking command of English with combating extremist views, but the broader problem of a lack of language skill and its impact upon society and the workforce may be a bigger, multi-faith or no faith problem.

Source data

See also

Our multi-lingual city – English second language for half of primary pupils

London is more diverse than the UN or Fifa

Poles and Pakistanis help shape the multi-cultural make up of the city

What National Insurance really tells us about London’s overseas workforce

 

 

More than 550 police officers on sick leave due to stress

Police_sagar simkhada shutterstock_333009221-2

Photo: Sagar Simkhada ┃Shutterstock.com

There as been a big rise in the number of police officers off work with stress over the last 10 years.  In the most recent financial year to March 2015, 557 officers were signed off work with stress, an increase from 405 in 2004-05.

The data, revealed by the Metropolitan Police in response to a Freedom of Information request, has 3 categories– stress, stress-related illness, and post traumatic stress disorder.

The largest category of absence through stress has risen by an average of 5% per year over a 10 year period.

Stress related absence-2

The numbers are lowest for post traumatic stress disorder, though it is the category which has seen the most significant increase, rising from 5 to 29 cases last year, perhaps due to greater recognition of the condition.

PTSD is caused by witnessing stressful, frightening or distressing events and sufferers may relive the traumatic events through flashback and nightmares.

While 557 is just 1.7% of the Met’s 31,780 officers their absence does have an impact. Previous information released by the Met reveals that in 2014, 24,000 working days were lost due to illness caused by stress.

Source data

See also

As the Met faces cuts to officers, how many patrol your borough?

The Met fails to reflect the face of people it’s policing

Police say violent crime is up, but it may be the way it’s recorded

The way we spend our cash – more rent, less alcohol, healthier eating

Credit card payment-2The average family in London spends £616.30 per week, £100 more than the national average, and most of the extra money is spent paying housing costs.

The data for household spending from the Office for National Statistics gives an insight in how households live based upon their spending patterns.

Rent is biggest bill each week for London households costing an average of £96.30 before any benefits are taken into account. That’s double the next nearest region, the South East, and 3 times more than households are paying in Scotland.

Households are spending £67.20 a week on transport, but the way that money is spent is different to the rest of the country. As a big city with a bus, tube and rail network London has the lowest level of spending on running a car and the highest on public transport.

The weekly food bill is £63.20 and reveals our eating habits. Households spent £2.90 on chicken compared to £1.80 on beef. And Londoners spend £3.60 a week on fish, more than any other region.

London households appear more health conscious, as they are the only ones in the UK to spend more on fresh fruit (£4.20) than on cakes and biscuits (£3.60).

They also spend less on alcohol and cigarettes. The average household drinks £7.30 worth of alcohol at home, lower than every region except the West Midland, and only the South West is spending less on smoking.

But while Londoners are saving something on booze at home their bar bills are the among the highest in the country. Average weekly spending on alcohol consumed away from home was £9.50, and eating out accounts for £21 per week.

Gambling appears less popular in London than elsewhere in the country. The average household bets £2.00 a week, the lowest of any region. Londoners spend more on books than anyone else, £1.80 a week, or enough to buy a paperback once a month.

Londoners spend £12.60 per household each week on pampering themselves with visits to the hairdresser, toiletries and hair and beauty products. Women spend £9.60 per week or £499.20 a year on clothing, 25% more than men.

Household spending


The ONS uses data from 2012-2104 to calculate regional averages.

Source data

See also

More “affordable” homes but the rents prove unaffordable for many

London may win for iPhone earning power over Poland but cost of living much higher

How London’s choice of nightlife compares to other cities