Press Release

Lockdown is hitting Londoners hard, but most are positive about their future in the city

Coronavirus risks increasing London’s inequalities, though the city retains its appeal as a place to live, according to a new survey published today.

This Snapshot of Londoners is the first quarterly survey by Centre for London, in partnership with Savanta.

Read the report

The survey, which asked over 1,500 Londoners how they have been affected by the pandemic and lockdown, found that:

Londoners’ diverging economic experiences of the crisis risks increasing inequality

  • Nearly half of Londoners (45 per cent) have seen their disposable income fall since the beginning of the crisis, while one in six Londoners (17 per cent) have seen their income increase. This compares to 44 per cent and 13 per cent across the UK.
  • Some groups are more likely to have seen their disposable income fall: self-employed people (65 per cent), part time workers (56 per cent), people who were born outside the UK (53 per cent) and parents (51 per cent).
  • 28 per cent of Londoners report they are struggling to make ends meet. This is highest for people with a disability (45 per cent), parents with children aged under 18 (38 per cent), people who are new to the city (37 per cent), part-time workers and renters (both 36 per cent).
  • Seven per cent of Londoners reported using a food bank in the last month, rising to 15 per cent of those aged 16 to 24, and 11 per cent of people with disabilities.

Despite these experiences, Londoners remain positive about their city and perhaps counter-intuitively are not expecting to move out

  • Looking to the year ahead, Londoners are more concerned about their finances (29 per cent are pessimistic) than about their health (17 per cent are pessimistic).
  • But despite recruitment plummeting and uncertainty around reopening, 38 per cent of Londoners are optimistic about their employment and 40 per cent are optimistic about their financial prospects over the coming year.
  • Remote working could allow more workers to live outside the capital, but most Londoners (78 per cent) expect to continue living in the city over the next 12 months. 65 per cent are happy living in London but eight per cent say they are likely to leave London in the coming year – this is higher than the five per cent who left the city in 2018.

Erica Belcher, Researcher at Centre for London said: 

“The experience of the pandemic has been very different for different Londoners depending on individual circumstance. 

“While some Londoners have been relatively sheltered from the economic fallout so far, many have seen a hit to their finances – and many of these were already struggling.  

“Londoners remain broadly positive about their future in the city, but many could be facing real hardship once temporary measures protecting from income loss and eviction are phased out. 

“As London plans its recovery, we need to rebuild a fair and prosperous city for all Londoners”. 

Oliver Worsfold, Associate Director at Savanta said: 

“We’re seeing yet again that the virus and lockdown measures do not affect all Londoners in the same way. It has exacerbated existing issues – those that were already ‘just about managing’ are now being hit the hardest. 

“Despite the current uncertainty, Londoners firmly feel that the city offers them the best opportunity to weather the storm – and very few see themselves leaving in the next 12 months. 

“London’s diversity is a key strength of the city and this research further shows that recovery plans need to work for people of all backgrounds and circumstances.” 

Notes to Editors 

  • Centre for London is the capital’s dedicated think tank. Politically independent and a registered charity, the Centre publishes research, holds events, convenes and influences to create a better city. 
  • Savanta is a market-leading research agency, informing and inspiring its clients to make better decisions. 
  • The Snapshot of Londoners is a quarterly survey of Londoners, conducted in partnership with Savanta, looking at how Londoners’ perceptions and behaviours change over time. It will explore Londoners’ life satisfaction, attitudes to their neighbourhoods and experiences of public services, social interactions and activities, spending and leisure habits. 
  • Polling of 1562 London residents was conducted by Savanta between 11 and 24 May 2020.