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

Far more 16-year-olds staying in school in London than across the UK

students hands up-2Far more young people are staying on in full-time education in London than elsewhere in the country.  Nearly half as many leave school at 16, 22% compared to 40% nationally.

London also has the highest rate of people entering further education after school age, with a third of people studying full time until they are 20 -23.

Leaving age London v UK

This trend for more time in education has been developing over a number of years in both London and the UK and is captured in data gathered by the Office for National Statistics through its Annual Population Survey.  The latest breakdown of these figures at borough level is for 2014 and it shows a wide discrepancy in the age of leaving education across the capital.

Nearly half the young people in Havering and 40% in Bexley leave education at 16.  School leaver rates are also high in Barking and Dagenham, and Enfield.  In comparison, the boroughs in the west of the city have large proportions staying in education. Just 9% in Richmond leave school at 16, 11% in Westminster, 12% in Kensington and Chelsea, and 13% in Wandsworth, and Hammersmith and Fulham.Leaving age boroughsWhen these numbers are combined with those leaving full time education at 19 three quarters of people are out of education in Havering by that age and 60% or more in Enfield, Sutton, Barking and Dagenham, and Bexley.

But in Wandsworth, Camden, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Westminster fewer than a third have left education.

This inner-outer, east-west divide is also evident in those staying in education until aged 24 and over.  In Kensington and Chelsea 22% are in education until this age and it’s nearly 20% I Hammersmith and Fulham, and Westminster.  But Havering has just 4% of people coming out of education at 24 and over, with 5% in Bexley and Enfield.

The data also reveals that some of London’s 16-69 year-old have never been in full-time education. In Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest it is an estimated 3% of the adult population under 70.

Source data

See also

Fight for reception gets tougher as more kids swell primary school demand

105,000 extra secondary pupils pose huge challenge for capital’s schools

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



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

concert hands in air-2Much is made of the exodus of young families from London but there is another significant group of London-leavers that may come as a bit of a surprise – those in their late teens and early 20s.

London may feel like a city for youth but data on population flows shows that those in their late teens and early 20s are the most likely to be leaving the capital.   And the biggest age group coming into the city is people in their late 20s and early 30s.

In 2011 there were 173,000 30 year-olds in London but only 92,000 16-year-olds. And data on internal migration flows in the UK shows that in 2014 the peak age for leaving the capital was 19-20 (the light red line in the chart below) and for moving in was 25-26 (the dark red line).

Youth pop flow

Much of this can be explained by the education and jobs cycle. A large number of people may be leaving London to go to university and an equally large number of young professional are coming to the city to work.

But longer term, the population age profile is skewing away from young adults. The population is due to grow by 1 million between 2011 and 2021 but in the same period the numbers aged 18-26 are forecast to drop by 65,000 and its 20-21 year olds where the fall is biggest – a 10% decline.

Youth pop forecast

Those arriving in the capital to pursue their career face the headache of finding somewhere affordable to live. In the boom years of the 90s this groups was twice as likely to buy their own home as they are now. In 1990 57% of 25-30 year-olds in the capital owned their own home. By last year it was down to 26%.

And the change for those in their early 20s is even more telling. A quarter of 16-24 year-old Londoners owned their own home in 1990. In 2014 it was just 6%. As our chart also shows, the only age group were the rate of property ownership is growing is the over 65s. For young people home ownership has collapsed.

Youth pop property

Those in their early 20s who stay in London and those in their late 20s who return, have one thing in common – increasingly they are living with mum and dad. Almost a quarter of those aged 20-34 were doing so last year. Back around the millennium it was just 17%.

Youth pop mum dad

Souce data

See also

Go east young man – it’s where young London lives

Under 40s locked out of housing market destined to be “generation rent”

How “Millennials” are driving an urban renaissance

Universities marked down by their own students

hStudents in London rate their universities as bottom of the league in rankings based on their own satisfaction and experience.

In a national survey involving 15,000 students at 113 institutions London universities were in the bottom 6 places, and 15 of the last 20 in the rankings were in London.

Students were asked to look at 21 criteria which included quality of teaching, facilities, community atmosphere and extracurricular actives. London universities scored below average in all criteria and fared particularly badly for sports facilities, societies and social life.

East London University copyBottom of the list is the University of East London.  UEL is based on 3 sites, 2 in Stratford and 1 in Docklands, and has 19,000 students.  It was established as a university in 1992.  Just above UEL are 2 other newer universities, London Metropolitan University and the University of West London. Only the Royal Veterinary College (25) and UCL (28) made it into the top 50.  Imperial is at number 54.

Institution Ranking (out of 113) Score (out of 100)
University of Westminster 108 65.4
City University 109 64.8
University of the Arts 110 64.5
University of West London 111 62.3
London Metropolitan 112 60.7
University of East London 113 59

Bath University came top with a score of 83 out of a possible 100.  Loughborough, Sheffield, Oxford and Cambridge made up the rest of the top 5.

Campus universities generally did well in the survey but this does not fully explain the poor showing in London as Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle, all city based, are in the top 10.

While the newer London institutions have done badly in this survey they scored highly in a separate study for awarding places to students from disadvantaged families, as reported here by Urbs.

The Student Experience Survey 2015 was carried out by YouthSight on behalf of Times Higher Education.

Source data

London leads in places for poorer students

London’s newer universities are leading the way in providing opportunities for students from under-privileged backgrounds.

Across England around a third of students come from poorer families. But data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency looking at participation of under-represented groups in UK universities found that 7 of London’s universities take 50% or more.

Students copyThe London role of honour is:

  • Institute of Education (64%)
  • University of Greenwich (56%)
  • Middlesex University (56%)
  • University of East London (54%)
  • London Metropolitan (53%)
  • London South Bank (51%)
  • University of Westminster (50%)

These universities also have a very high level of students from state rather than independent schools, above the national average of 90%.

London has the second highest proportion of independent schools in the country (as reported by Urbs) and there is a marked variation in student admissions from the state sector in London. This ranges from all places going to state educated pupils at Middlesex to just over a third at the Royal Academy of Music. The smaller specialist colleges take far more students from the independent sector.

The more established London institutions that have become global brands, such as LSE, UCL and Kings, have about two thirds of students from the state sector, which is in line with the intake at Oxford and Cambridge.

 Source data