How London boroughs will rival the ‘Northern Powerhouse’

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The Chancellor, George Osborne, is very proud of his concept of the northern powerhouse. He first coined the phrase in Manchester last year and couldn’t help a smile as the Queen used the term in the state opening of parliament this week.

The idea is to build the economy of the cities in the North of England to rival London and the South East. There’s even a government minister for the northern powerhouse. But a look at the economic data shows the scale of the task and underlines the strength of London.

The Office for National Statistics uses GVA (Gross Value Added) to measure the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, sector or area in the UK. Using the latest data for 2013 Urbs compared the North West region of England, which includes Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria with the area classified as Inner London West, which includes the City of London and 5 boroughs – Westminster, Camden, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Wandsworth.

North West of England Inner London West
Population 7.1 million 1.1 million
Total GVA £142 billion £151 billion
GVA per head £20,000 £136,000

The figures for Inner London West are inflated by the financial service activity of the City, but demonstrate its economic contribution. The per capita calculation may be unfair as many of the people involved in generating the output of the area in London may live elsewhere.

However, the figures for Inner London East – the 8 boroughs of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Islington, Haringey, Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth – are instructive. These boroughs represent some of the capital’s more deprived areas. The GVA for this area is £87 billion, which translates as £39,000 per head, nearly double that of the North West of England.

Developing a so-called northern powerhouse to redress the North/South divide is widely seen as a good ambition but the hard numbers show that London is likely to remain the real powerhouse of the UK economy.

Source data

See also:

NY beats London in economic power

1 in 3 kids growing up in out-of-work households in parts of London

children legsChildren in Tower Hamlets and Islington are more than 4 times as likely to live in a home with parents who are out of work than those in Richmond.

A borough-by-borough breakdown compiled every May from data from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that 31% of children in both those inner London areas are living in homes where out-of-work benefits are claimed. The map below shows that this is not an exclusively inner city issue with 25% of children in out-of-work households in Enfield in the north, and 27% in Barking and Dagenham in the east.

In comparison, Richmond and Kingston in south west London have the lowest level of out-of work benefit households with children, followed by Harrow and Barnet.

Children out of work households map

338,00 children under 15 are in households claiming out-of-work benefits. London has a higher than average rate at 20%, compared to 18% for England, though since 2010 the rate has been declining and appears to be moving towards the national average. Unemployment rates in London have been static this year and are slightly higher than the national avearage, as reported by Urbs.

London is also seeing a reduction in the number of children being looked after by councils. While this has been historically high in London the rate has fallen below the rate for England since 2011.  It is currently 54 children per 10,000.  That means that in the last year a little over 10,000 children in London have been looked after by social services, children’s homes, foster parents or have been adopted.  Again there is a marked difference between the wealthier and poorer boroughs. In Richmond it is 20 children per 10,000. In Southwark the rate is 91 per 10,000 – that’s 550 kids.

Children looked after map

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Children in Out of work households

Children in borough care

Sexual infection map shows problems for Lambeth and Southwark

Lambeth and Southwark have the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections in London.  Data from Public Health England shows the two south London boroughs have substantially more cases of both syphilis and gonorrhoea than other areas.

Lambeth has 91 cases of syphilis per 100,000 people. Southwark has 82.  In neighbouring Wandsworth it is 22 and in Merton 11.  The lowest incidence is in Havering and Harrow with just 2 cases per 100,000.  The darker colours on the borough map of London represent the highest rates of infection.

The picture is similar for cases of gornorrhoea.  In Lambeth there are 155 cases per 100,000 people.  In Southwark it is 398 and in Hackney 351. The average for London is 155 but some boroughs have a fraction of that number.

The rate of STIs is 3 times higher in London that it is for England as a whole.

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Where the arts-loving Londoners live – not in Newham

hLondon enjoys an international reputation as a city of arts and culture. The museums,  art galleries and West End musicals are packed but are they all tourists or are locals making use of the capital’s rich cultural offering?

A nationwide survey by local authorities suggests that Londoners are generally an arts friendly bunch.  62% said they attended 3 or more arts events in the past year. That’s a touch below the national average.  But a higher proportion of Londoners make use of galleries and museums than people in other areas of England.  London has a huge selection of museums and galleries and 59% said they had visited one in the past 12 months.

London benefits disproportonately from spending on the arts.  A well-regarded indepdendent report Rebalancing our Cultural Capital, published in autumn 2013 found that spending per head in the previous year was £68.99 in London and £4.58 for the rest of England. This included funding from the Arts Council and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.  The record of lottery money allocation for the arts shows a similar pro-London bias. From 1995 to 2013  it was £165 per head in London and £46.77 in the rest of England.

Across London there are some wide variations in the engagement with the arts. The people of Haringey appear to be the keenest in the capital  Over 80% said they went to 3 or more arts event.  In comparison it is just 18% in Newham.

80% of adults in Kensington and Chelsea have been to a museum or gallery in the past year, and Westminster and Barnet are not far behind.  In Harrow and Barking they are far less interested.

Londoners make more use of libraries than people in England generally.  46% had used a library in the previous 12 months compared to 39% for the rest of the country.  Once again there are variations between boroughs.  Residents in Bromley and Haringey love their libraries and are 3 time more likely to use them than people in Newham, Southwark or Hammersmith and Fulham.  The provision of libraries is broadly similar across these boroughs (9 – 14 establishments) but is lower in Hammersmith and Fulham, which has 6 public libraries.

Source data

The active participation survey is done every 2 years and the most recent data available is for 2012-13.

Fall in assaults makes city safer

hLondon is becoming a safer city.  There has been a 40% drop in assaults where an ambulance was called to deal with injuries in the last 4 years. The past year alone has seen a 20% reduction.

Data from the London Ambulance Service shows that in the year ending February 2015 ambulance crews and paramedics attended 26,000 calls to treat assault injuries. In 2011 it was 46,000 incidents.  Assaults on women and teenagers are falling in line with the general trend.

There are also fewer incidents involving weapons. Gun shot injuries are down 50% over 4 years.  Knife crime saw dramatic falls between 2011 and 2013 but has gone back up a little in recent months.  In the year ending February 2015 there were 1,500 knife wounding incidents dealt with by the ambulance service.

 

The assault figures are down in every borough. Harrow has seen the most significant improvement where the fall is 37%.  In Tower Hamlets it is 14%.  In attacks on teenagers, seen as a particularly vulnerable group, there is good news across the city, except in Greenwich, where the numbers were slightly up.

The data on knife injuries shows a less uniform picture. Lambeth and Southwark have the highest number but there’s been a reduction in the past twelve months.  Hackney and Haringey also have significant numbers and the rate there has increased.

 

Source data

Note: The data is based on retrospective reporting by ambulance crews/paramedics and 999 call handlers of incidents where they judged an assault had taken place.

Landlords reclaim record number of rented homes

To Let copyMore Londoners than ever are losing their rented home through landlord repossessions. Data analysis by Urbs shows that in the last 3 years the rate of landlord repossessions has risen sharply. And the data shows that this is a particular problem for London, as the rate for England as a whole has seen only a gradual rise.

In the third quarter of 2014 (the most recent data available) there were 4,137 rented home repossessions in London. That’s rate of 2.45 per thousand, and double the rate for England as a whole.

Renting has become more popular as high property prices make buying a home unaffordable for many people. That problem is most acute in the capital, particularly for younger Londoners.

Rising prices have also seen the end of the negative equity trap, which used to lead to large number of mortgage repossessions in London. These have fallen from their peak in the third quarter of 2006 of 1,181 homes to just 218 last summer. That is back to the level for repossessions last seen in 2003.

The picture of home repossessions across the capital shows a clear divide between richer and poorer boroughs. Southwark, Croydon and Newham have nearly three times the number of the more affluent Sutton, Kingston and Richmond.

Landlord repossessions 2 map

Repossession figures are based on county court action rather than actual incidents. Some homes are repossessed without court action and some court actions do not lead ultimately to repossession.

Source data