Thursday 25 February 2016

Priced out of London - London Young Teachers' Housing Survey

At the end of 2015, a NUT survey of London’s young teachers revealed how many of them were struggling to live and work in a city where the average monthly cost of renting a one-bed flat is now over £1,100 - and rising.

    60% of young teachers surveyed said that they could not see themselves still teaching in London in five years’ time
    London needs to create over 100,000 new school places during the lifetime of this Parliament yet, at the same time, teachers are being forced out of the city. This can only mean that London faces a growing teacher shortage.

    Nearly two-thirds of responses specifically pointed to the cost of living in London as the reason that they would be leaving:  
    “The cost of rent is half of my monthly salary - add bills, food and petrol and I have nothing left”
    “My rent has just increased to £1600 per month”
    “Salaries are little more than they were seven years ago but rent has doubled”
    “Teaching, yes; in London, no. I just can’t afford to live here”

    Many teachers explained that they would be leaving because they would struggle to afford housing with enough room for a family: 

    “I plan to move out because I have a 1 year old and cannot afford to raise my child in London”
    “If I want to have children, I would have to change either my city or my profession”

    Of course, the reason some teachers gave for leaving were linked to the workload faced by teachers everywhere. However, many linked that stress in the workplace to the added stress of inadequate housing once they leave work:
    “Teaching is stressful. You need to be able to come back from work to a home that gives you mental and physical space. I can’t afford to live in such a space”
    “There’s no privacy and nowhere to work. Sitting on my bed to mark books is killing my back”
    “Rent uses up more than half my salary but I can’t move further away to find something cheaper as I need to get into work by 7.30 am”

    Renting or living at home
    59% of the teachers surveyed were having to rent privately
    18% were living at home with their parents - more than those who were buying a property

     Unable to secure a home of their own, a majority of London’s young teachers, like many other young workers, are becoming trapped in the private rental market. 

    Just like the families of too many of the children that they teach, young teachers are being forced into unsuitable housing, facing high rents and sometimes unscrupulous landlords:
    “We are five people sharing a three bedroom flat. This is the only way we can keep the costs down”
    “Landlords frequently increase rent, forcing us to move or they sell property and force eviction”
    “It’s noisy, horrible and with holes in the walls but it’s all that I can afford”.
    “We live in a tiny two-bedroom flat with three children. We can’t even fit a second bed in the second bedroom. The property has damp and my daughter has asthma”
    “I don’t like having to live with strangers. There’s one bathroom between four of us”
    “I work in the same borough that I grew up in. I don’t want to move away from my life, my roots, just because of ridiculous housing prices”

    Nearly one in five of the surveyed teachers said that they are having to stay with their parents: 

    “Living at home with my parents makes me feel like I never have my own life. I’m leaving London"
    “I’m 34 and still having to live at home. What kind of life is that?”
    “Due to escalating rents, I have had to move back with my parents”
    “I have been married for two years and can only now afford to live with my husband. We were having to live separately with our own parents”

    Urgent action needed
    The survey responses didn’t just explain how bad the housing crisis has become, they also called for action to make sure that teachers can afford to stay working in London’s schools:
    “Great cities like Berlin have established rent controls so that prices are affordable. If London wants teachers, something has to change!”

    “We need key worker properties for teachers”
    “We need more pay. Wages just do not meet the cost of housing. I have colleagues outside London who are able to save for first homes as an NQT!”
    “What about making travel free for teachers?”
    “There should be a limit to private rents with standards on room sizes and housing conditions”

    Standing up for London’s education

    The NUT believes every child deserves the best education that our city can offer. However, we know our schools are under threat. We know that teachers and parents are being priced out of London.

    We’ve produced a manifesto for London’s schools and colleges with key proposals that we’re asking the next Mayor and London Assembly to champion - and we’re asking you to demand that they do!

    The NUT’s manifesto for London calls on the next Mayor and London Assembly to:
    • advocate for rent controls and for more affordable housing in London, with investment for councils to build homes, so that parents and children are not priced out of their community
    • take urgent action to provide affordable housing to enable London schools to keep the teachers they need.

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