The gentrification of central London
3 September 2015, Blog
Figures recently released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggest that poorer families are being pushed out of inner London. This is based on the fact that the number of children eligible to claim free school meals (an indication of deprivation) in the capital’s central boroughs has reduced by over a third in the past five years.
This announcement will presumably come as quite a shock to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. In 2010, Johnson proclaimed that Tory welfare reforms would not result in “Kosovo style cleansing” where “thousands of families are evicted from the place where they have been living.”
The sudden influx of poorer families from central London boroughs into outer London boroughs would seem to challenge Boris’s claim. Schools in Merton, Bexley and Croydon have seen on average a 15% rise in the number of families claiming child food benefit.
Labour leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn did not mince his words on the issue. Corbyn claimed that “quite frankly we’re being socially cleansed.” The MP for Islington North went on to say that “the rent goes up, the benefit cap doesn’t meet the rent. That means [people are] either forced to go hungry or move away from their families and the lives they’ve built.”