This is London.
The capital city where millions of people from all walks of life, wait as the tannoy announces planned engineering work at the weekend… We are all Londoners in some capacity so we could all benefit from some changes to make our shared experience in this city a better one.
One reason why many Londoners feel marginalized and left in a position where they feel out of touch with London is because many feel they can’t afford the cost of living in the city. London is quickly becoming a place where people exist but few actually live. This is quickly becoming a reality for many people as inflationary pressures dictate prices and only the relatively few have enough disposable income to cover living costs and enjoy the rest of their income. Living costs in this sense is food, clothing and shelter. The basics everyone needs to survive.
One solution could be for community subsides for food and clothing. Authorities could provide small pockets of people around the capital with communal vouchers for food and clothes. (More underwear and basic clothes, nothing fancy!) Community wide food banks will bring people in the same area together, building community bonds as well as helping solve living cost issues. If communities pooled their money together and ensured everyone had the basics covered on a month by month basis this would not only reduce individual spending for basics, but it would also bring you closer to your neighbour, as the only way you could benefit from this subsidy would be active participation.
Londoners opine the sentiment that living costs are high, working together with locals in the same position could help reduce costs. Food could then be redistributed on a regular basis and participation would be optional. The more participants the more food and the cheaper it would be for everyone. There is nothing here for free, the fact that money is pooled together means people pay for their share, so participation in the scheme means benefits for you and your neighbour.
Another predatory cost is Transport. We don’t demand to sit (or squeeze ourselves) onto a packed Tube because we like being close to strangers, we demand transport to help move us from A to B. TFL fares increase almost on a yearly basis, with very little difference in service. If cycling facilities were improved London would hugely benefit from designated cycle roads. Boris Bikes are a step in the right direction but we need to take it further. In the Netherlands they have specific roads just for cycling. This has huge social benefits, including exercise, reduction in toxic emissions, reduction in congestion on the tube, roads and busses. London already has a keen interest in cycling, but poor infrastructure and meandering policy makers seem not to what to enact what would revolutionise the way Londoners commute.
Our policymakers gear a lot of energy towards hosting and advertising London for wealthy foreigners who tend to view London as a financial investment. This is what has made London an inflation magnet for many who’s wages tend to be fixed. It would be great if councils built new developments on their land as opposed to private developers, who’s only obligation is to shareholders and not the general public. If councils built more social housing some could still be sold at market rate, however, the funds will be going back to the council and thus the people. Councils would have more money to invest in community led schemes. People could sign up and decide what the community needs with the excess funds and improvements could be made. If this scheme were to be executed on a London wide basis the capital would be boosted by its citizens who would actively feel as they are contributing towards a common goal. Too many Londoners feel left out and this is sad because we all contribute in some way.