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



The jobs success and housing failure causing a crisis for the capital

roofer colourIn his speech to the Conservative Party conference the Prime Minister, David Cameron, called for a house building “crusade” to deal with the shortage of homes. Nowhere is this felt more severely than in the capital where the success in jobs growth but the failure in house building has led to a structural shortfall.

Since 2002 London has seen a 21% increase in jobs and a 16% rise in population. Over the same period new homes have increased by 10%. And the pressure on housing will continue as London’s population forecast suggests it will grow at 100,000 a year for the next decade.

Housing growth jobs

House building in the capital has been bumping along at around the 20,000 level for the past 10 years. Following the financial crisis of 2008 it dipped sharply. Most of the homes being built are in the private sector, not social housing, which raises issues about affordability.

Housing growth starts

New home starts are climbing back towards where they were 10 years ago, but it is still not enough and the problem is widely acknowledged. In his housing strategy document last year the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said that housing was an epic challenge and that the number of new homes being built in the capital would need to double to 42,000 per year for the next 20 years to keep pace with population growth.

The problem in London is more severe than in other comparable cities. Annualised figures for population growth and home building over the past decade show Tokyo and New York in housing surplus, while Paris has an annual shortfall but not to the same level as London

Housing growth cities-2

London relies heavily on housing stock from the last century and before, as reported by Urbs London. A quarter of the homes were built before 1900. Outer London saw a huge house-building boom in the 1920s and 30s but in recent years there has been very little increase in these areas. Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government, reported by Urbs, show that since 2000 there has been a 11% increase in new dwellings across London (both new builds and conversions) but in 16 outer boroughs this growth is in single figures with just 4% in Sutton and 2% in Merton.

A survey carried out by the housing charity, Shelter, earlier this year showed that most people in London support the building of new homes in their area. And the number of Londoners who strongly support new building was much higher than in England as a whole.

Housing growth support

Despite the political ambition to build and the apparent public support for it, the housing shortfall that London needs to make up will mean that availability and affordability will continue to be severe problems for years to come, and the issue is likely to be a significant battleground in the election for the next Mayor in May 2016.

Source data

See also

Living in the past: The old housing keeping a roof over our heads

More homes packed into built up inner city as growth stalls in outer areas

Booming population will struggle to find a place to live