In Depth

London 'Endies' struggle to make ends meet

The capital is failing people on lower-middle incomes, a London think tank says

London has long been described as a playground for the rich, but a report released over the weekend suggests that it's not only the poor who are struggling to make a living in the capital.

According to The Centre for London, more than a million "Endies" – or Employed people with No Disposable Income or Savings – are stuck in jobs that pay for little more than the bare essentials.

Who are the Endies?

Endies are people who do jobs that keep the capital running, but feel "trapped" by their lack of spare cash, the think tank says. They are "workers and families earning low to modest incomes, and struggling to get by" on salaries of £18,000 and £28,000, given "the capital's high cost of living".

What are the challenges facing the Endies?

The idea that hard work can secure a better life is for many people "a hollow promise", the report says. "Since the recession, the average London wage has fallen quicker than anywhere else in the country. At the same time the cost of living in the capital has shot up".  London house prices mean that Endies can't afford to buy their own homes, and to rent "they have to pay on average over a hundred pounds more per month than they would have done ten years ago".  Energy bills, child care, and the cost of getting to and from work have all soared. Endies have also had to cut back on other expenses: eating out, entertainment and buying new clothes.

What can be done to alleviate the pain?

The report says that "we need to make sure that for individuals and families of modest incomes London lives up to its promise". The director of the Centre of London, Ben Rogers, tells The Guardian: "there are a range of innovations that could help make life easier for London's hard pressed working families – above all through developing a new generation of decent affordable homes in good quality neighbourhoods."

Charles Leadbeater, the report's author and a former advisor to Tony Blair, says the character of the capital will change if present trends continue. "Zone 1 inside the Circle Line will become like Dubai," he said. "It will be inhabited only by cosmopolitan people who come to London to spend money."

He also said that "there would be a political price" to be paid if the need of Endies were not properly addressed.

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