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The Mayor of London The London Assembly

The State of London v4

On 22 January 2024, the GLA’s City Intelligence Unit released the fourth version of its bi-annual State of London report – a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of London’s key economic and social outcomes. The report covers numerous datasets that update at different intervals, but most of the data presented reflect the state of affairs in 2022 and 2023 (i.e., after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic).

There are several points to highlight from the report:

  • Economic growth, while up 7% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2022, is expected to moderate up to 2025. Meanwhile, the number of workforce jobs in the capital (just under 6.5 million in June 2023) now exceeds pre-pandemic levels.
  • Income inequality remains stark, with the richest tenth of Londoners having almost 10 times the income of the poorest tenth.
  • Although indicators of public transport show positive signs of recovery towards pre-pandemic baselines, there remain some gaps in demand, service provision and performance against pre-pandemic norms.
  • Londoners were most trusting of medical institutions. In November 2023, for example, 50% of Londoners said they had trust in their GP. Meanwhile, trust was lowest for London media (18%), borough councils (20%) and the Metropolitan Police Service (24%).
  • Prevalence rates of common diseases are much higher in the most deprived quintiles compared to the least deprived, especially for diabetes (93% higher), lung disease (121% higher) and depression (78% higher).
  • Rent on new tenancies in London accounted for an average of just under 39% of tenant incomes in Oct 2023, up from 34.9% in Oct 2022.
  • London’s annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 were 44% lower than they were at their highs in 2000.

The report’s main message is that while London has and continues to weather multiple challenges better than other parts of the country and better than expected, the city remains confronted by several problems. London is more vulnerable to the cost-of-living crisis than other regions, and with the Office for Budget Responsibility recently forecasting higher and more persistent inflation, this is likely to impact London more substantially. This would suggest that many of London’s main crises – from unaffordable housing to rising cost of living – will continue and could be exacerbated.

Economic and social inequalities remain pronounced, as do poverty rates, inequalities in educational attainment (whether for children or adults), health and wellbeing outcomes, and access to transportation and infrastructure. Even feelings of community trust and welfare differ significantly across financial, ethnic, gender, and other strata. Londoners with protected demographic and economic characteristics still do not share as much of the city’s broader economic success, while suffering disproportionately as a result of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. Further growth in such inequalities is unsustainable in the long term, and could risk neutralising the very attributes on which London’s success is constructed.

In summary, we should celebrate London’s remarkable resilience and successful features, especially given the extraordinary challenges of the last few years. Nevertheless, there is still some way to go not only to address ongoing problems, but to ensure that we prevent such problems from getting worse and undermining the very success that we can currently celebrate.

Download the full report.