Wednesday, September 26The Voice of London

London’s rising rent prices should encourage us to do better

London rent prices are soaring. Let’s face it, it’s something to moan about. But are we thinking about rent prices rationally? They are, after all, relative to the area they are based in; for example, the closer you are to central London the pricier your rent would be. However, working in the city centre you would stereotypically be earning more.

Words: Michelle Whitney, Aminah Mughal, Teh Mohamed Yusof, Izzy Sullivan, Simone Wright and Tenelle Ottley-Matthew

As well as the prices being relative, when you compare to other major cities it is an accepted and naturally progressive part of capitalism. We have one of the worlds culturally rich histories, and we should be grateful that we live in such an attractive city for all around the globe.

However, the pay here is higher than anywhere else in the country. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the median gross wage for those who work in inner London is £34,473 whereas for the rest of the UK it is just £22,044. Despite this unbalanced correlation, there is a sense of reassurance that though may not be the ideal for first time renters, helps to soften the blow of the generation rent crisis.

The rental market has been boosted by factors such as the influx of economic migrants, new divorcees and students. According to Business Insider, rents are also rising due to the recent acceleration in wages. It has been reported that the average renter in London is now paying £100 more than they can afford; currently, the average rent for a flat share now stands at £692.30 per month.

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Holland Park | Photo by Teh Mohamed Yusof

For most of us, flat shares are perhaps the best solution and the most affordable one bedroom apartments are on the outskirts of London.  The majority of graduate jobs start at £19,000 per year and while a flat share may not be the independence that was being sought after, it definitely is an effective way to survive in the capital.

A little competition never hurt anyone right? In fact healthy competition can introduce the strive to do better. Particularly when you look at areas such as Chelsea, yes the rent could be considered extortionate BUT it is a highly atmospheric, trendy, affluent area. Who wouldn’t want to live there? If prices were cheaper the sense of exclusivity would cease to exist. It helps to drive us to want to do better; to prepare yourself with adequate education in order to get a well-paid and rewarding job, to be able to afford to invest in your own property, in a desirable area.

With the amount of negative coverage and rent horror stories the prospect of renting in London has a dark cloud hanging over it. But people often forget that affordable places do exist in sought after zone 1/2 areas. Jack XXXXXXX,  20,  a full time bartender for the London Cocktail Club lives in Notting Hill. He lives in a spacious, clean, white-pillared flat he shares with three others, his rent comes in at a bargain £650 a month. But this comes with a warning, he’s shacked up with three others in a tiny flat.

He says: “I found the room on, it was pretty easy if I’m honest. I wasn’t even looking at zone 1 as I obviously assumed it was out of my price range, but the people I live with are young too.”

On pretty basic salary he clearly shows how it is attainable for young people to live in a posh area.

Camden Town | Photo by Tenelle Ottley-Matthew

It’s a fact that London is one of the greatest cities on Earth when it comes to culture. The capital’s world-class reputation for arts and culture is one of its most remarkable qualities.

A recent survey carried out by Post Office Travel Money found that London is the priciest European city for culture. However, this needn’t be a negative thing at all. Since London is a city renowned for its outstanding culture, surely there’s nothing wrong with commanding higher prices for some cultural activities to be enjoyed and appreciated, such as ballets, operas and classical concerts for example. The high standard for culture should be maintained to attract visitors and preserve London’s reputation as one of the planet’s leading cultural capitals. There is a plethora of galleries and museums that offer free entry.

London has produced some of the most prolific, influential people the world has ever seen; from intellectuals, philosophers, scientists to writers, artists etc.

Modernist writer Virginia Woolf was a leading figure in London literary society. 19th century romantic poet John Keats is one of many writers who were alumni of Kings College London. Rosalind Franklin, another famous Kings alumni, was responsible for building the first correct molecule of DNA. Robert Browning, the Victorian playwright, poet and master of dramatic verse is a South London native.

Islington | Photo by Tenelle Ottley-Matthew

Also born in London, Alan Turing is known for cracking the codes of German Enigma machine. His work largely contributed to the development of computer science. Turing’s code cracking achievement was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the movie, Imitation Game. Victor Horsley, a pioneer in neurosurgery, who was born in Kensington, performed his first brain surgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queens Square. Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, who was the first published computer programmer lived in London for most of her life. Her achievements will be exhibited at the Science Museum in London this October. These public figures were all born in London.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), people in their early 20’s are likely to move to London to start their career. The city has more job opportunities and social life compared to other UK cities.

“If you are born poor it’s not your fault. But if you die poor it’s your fault.” – Bill Gates