Saturday, 12 March 2011

Islington and the Cuts – some (chilling) facts and (nauseating) figures.

Islington is sometimes thought of as a rich borough, yet those who live in it know it’s a little bit more complicated than that. Unlike most boroughs in London, where deprivation is confined to particular areas, the poor areas of Islington are spread throughout it. This is because it doesn’t have the large high-rise estates typical of most of London1.

Yet Islington is still one of the most deprived areas in the UK, and its poverty looks set to become more extreme as inequality is stretched: while the richest fifth of the population are predicted to lose less than 1% of their income due to spending cuts, the poorest fifth will lose an average of 12%2. Combined with Islington’s sky high rents, the cuts to benefits, public services and jobs currently being unravelled are likely to land a heavy blow. The hardship and uncertainty this produces will undoubtedly be worse for those who are already poor, but, in the end, it will damage the vibrant and diverse area that we all enjoy, creating a poorer environment for us all.

This is a summary of how Islington currently fares in terms of poverty and deprivation and who is most likely to do worse as result of government policy, but it is by no means a comprehensive review. For example, it does not even begin to touch on the effects of withdrawal of public services, or closures of community spaces, which are vital to people’s social, mental and physical health.