The London Economic TLE

Londoners ‘Poorest Workers in Britain’ Despite Earning Highest Average Salary

By Nathan Lee, TLE Correspondent 

New research has found UK professionals working in the city of London are officially the poorest workers in Britain, despite earning the highest average salary.

Based on new roles advertised in Q3 2015, CV Library research revealed that the average annual salary in London is £36,905; just 16.6 per cent greater than the national average of £31,625 per year. However, further research revealed that premium costs in the capital drastically outweigh the slightly higher-than-average salaries meaning Londoners have the least disposable income in the country.

Comparing the same basic living costs against average salary in 16 of the UK’s key cities revealed how employees in North England and Scotland are by far the richest in the UK:

Richest to Poorest UK Workers

Average Monthly Salary               Basic Monthly Costs                       Remaining Income

Aberdeen:                           £2,230                                                 £917                                     £1,313

Liverpool:                            £1,993                                                 £862                                     £1,131

Glasgow:                              £2,015                                                 £891                                     £1,125

Birmingham:                      £2,040                                                 £921                                     £1,119

Sheffield:                             £2,025                                                 £914                                     £1,112

Leeds:                                   £2,014                                                 £919                                     £1,095

Cardiff:                                 £2,019                                                 £924                                    £1,095

Portsmouth:                       £1,995                                                 £953                                     £1,042

Manchester:                       £1,936                                                 £951                                      £985

Southampton:                   £1,991                                                 £1,035                                   £957

Hull:                                       £1,816                                                 £864                                   £952

Bristol:                                  £2,145                                                 £1,207                                 £937

Edinburgh:                          £2,013                                                 £1,167                                  £846

Exeter:                                  £1,822                                                 £1,040                                 £783

Brighton:                             £1,826                                                 £1,348                                  £478

London:                           £2,349                                             £3,313                             -£964

*Basic monthly costs include rent (small, one-bed flat, located close to the city centre), relevant council tax, a local monthly travel card, basic utility bills and groceries.

The results show that a Londoner wanting the same living standards as anyone else in the country will either end up in serious debt, or have to make major compromises to their living standards, despite holding senior, well-paid jobs.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, explains: “”It’s not unreasonable for a UK working professional to want to come home to their own space at night.

“As employees, it’s advantages such as these that motivate and inspire us to do well. However, living premiums mean that this isn’t a reality for most workers in the capital and the idea of getting on the property ladder is a pipe dream, despite working hard. The fact that Londoners struggle to afford the bare essentials is worrying and may well affect the number of professionals that choose to work in the city; other cities are starting to appear as much more appealing prospects for UK workers.””

Current house prices reinforce how unobtainable it is for working Londoners to get on the property ladder; when comparing the purchase of a one-bed flat in London, to a similar one-bed flat in Hull, the difference is significant. Whilst the average cost of a one-bed flat in Hull is £72,486, the same flat in London would be £544,118; more than 7.5 times more expensive (750.6 per cent). However, when comparing average salaries in both cities (£36,905 in London and £27,809 in Hull), Londoners only earn just under a third more (32.7 per cent) than workers in Hull.

In real terms, a professional in Hull would spend 18.1 per cent of their salary on a mortgage for a one bed property and still have £1,485 left in their pocket to cover bills and other living expenses. A Londoner would need 105.5 per cent of their salary to pay the mortgage alone, leaving them in debt before they have even considered how to cover bills and other basic costs.

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