Low rents for women would help address gender pay gap

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Low rents for women would help address gender pay gap
credit Unsplash

Politicians at City Hall have told Sadiq Khan he should consider making some London homes available at lower rents for women, because of the gender pay gap.

In a new report, the London Assembly’s Housing Committee points out that women in the capital earn significantly less than men, and that they are therefore harder hit by soaring rents.

A spokeswoman for Khan said he welcomed the report and would consider its recommendations.

Women earning the women’s median wage need to spend 63 percent of their earnings to afford the median private rent in London, compared to men needing to spend 49 percent of their earnings – a gap of 14 percentage points.

The Housing Committee’s suggestion about lower rents for women was made in relation to London Living Rent properties – homes funded by City Hall which have rents based on a third of average local household incomes and adjusted for the number of bedrooms in each.

The committee said the Mayor should consider making London Living Rent homes available to women to rent based on women’s median incomes rather than general median incomes.

Committee Chair Sem Moema said: “Improving the quality of housing for Londoners is rightly a key priority for the Mayor and there are opportunities for him to begin to level the playing field for women.

“The London Plan’s [a mayoral policy document] explanation of affordable housing states that annual housing costs should be no greater than 40 per cent of net household income.

“Research shows that women are currently, on average, having to spend 63 percent of their earnings on housing, and this simply is not sustainable.”

Ms Moema, a Labour member who represents Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest on the Assembly, added: “We firmly believe that if the Mayor takes the appropriate steps, through our recommendations, there could be a significant improvement in women having the opportunity to rent or own their own home in London.”

In response to the report, a spokeswoman for Khan said: “The Mayor is proud to have delivered record-breaking numbers of affordable homes, including the highest level of council homebuilding since the 1970s.
“His record includes funding specialist housing for women facing homelessness and experiencing domestic abuse.”

She added: “Sadiq welcomes the committee’s work on this important subject and will be considering their recommendations as part of his work to build a better London for everyone.”

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