Cost-of-living crisis in London

By Laura Perkins

As a charity and the community foundation for London we are deeply concerned about the rising cost of living and what it means for our most vulnerable and marginalised Londoners.

The cost-of-living crisis is as big a crisis as covid, possibly bigger. More people will need the help charities provide, yet charities will find it harder to support them as inflation increases their own costs.
NPC, July 2022

This month NPC published a stark warning highlighting the huge challenges we are facing as the cost-of-living rises. If you have time, it is worth reading the full NPC article explaining what has caused the crisis and what it will mean for people and charities across the UK.

We know that, despite being one of the most prosperous cities in the world, London is also a place that can exclude and marginalise. Inequality and poverty are deep-rooted issues in our Capital. London has the highest rate of poverty in the UK, and it is not equal. People from some ethnic groups, women, families with children, and disabled people are at higher risk of living in poverty. Issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Compounding an existing crisis

Communities, who have barely taken a breath since the last lockdown now find themselves facing an even bigger struggle to make ends meet.

  • 15% of Londoners were already facing fuel poverty before the recent rise in prices
  • 4.7% of Londoners are unemployed, higher than the rest of the UK
  • 9% of Londoners get at least some of their weekly food from food banks
  • 18% of Londoners report having what is called a ‘common mental health disorder’ including depression, anxiety, and disorders (Centre for London, 2022)

The rising cost of living will deepen existing poverty, tip more people into poverty and impact disproportionately on already marginalised communities across our Capital. All of which will have long-term effects on our communities' wellbeing and health.

What NPC points out is that unemployment is not the main cause, and a job may not provide an escape. Many people, over two thirds of families living in poverty, have one adult working. In London, even with a job, the cost of living is still so high it is hard to survive week to week.

They also explain that financial education, although important, won’t be the solution. In essence, it won’t be possible for most families to budget their way out of poverty.

In London we are already seeing a rise in demand for the vital services that our smaller, local, community organisations and charities provide. They are seeing more people come through their door with more complex problems to deal with. The same factors in the rising cost of food, energy, and petrol will hit smaller charities as they try and provide food, housing or transport for people. They will also likely see a drop in donations. And staff, who were already exhausted from the pandemic, will be stretched further.

During the pandemic they were a lifeline and they will be there again – but they urgently need our support.

What next?

In the coming days we are going out to all the community organisations we support to find out more about how the rising cost of living is affecting their beneficiaries, as well as their own staff and operations, and what we, as a charity, and as Londoners can do to help.

If you are a community organisation keen to share your views please complete our survey:

If you are a Londoner, keen to know how you, your business or your organisation can help please contact