The government has admitted that it seriously underestimated the number of immigrants working in the country. Work and Pensions Secretary, Peter Hain, originally stated in parliament that 2.7 million jobs had been created under Labour, of which 800,000 had gone to people born overseas. He then revised this figure to 1.1 million. The Conservatives however released figures from the Office for National Statistics that put the total number of migrant workers at 1.5 million. At least 40 local councils have complained to the government that the underestimation of migrants has placed massive strain on their budgets.
As commuting times and house prices increase, more people than ever are now renting a room for the week in the city they work and commuting back to their homes at the weekend. A flatshare website has seen an increase in the number of ads placed for mid-week house shares from just a couple six months ago, to nearly 100 a week. The average age of those sharing accommodation is now 33 plus, compared with 31 in 2005. The average age of flat sharers will be 40 by 2012 if the rate of increase remains the same.
Naomi Eisenstadt from the government’s social exclusion taskforce has suggested that unemployed council tenants should be told to get a job. The comments come as new figures show that one in three heads of social tenanted households are unemployed. Eisenstadt said there was a ‘failure of housing and employment to join up’.
London MPs have come under fire for claiming living expenses for running a second home in the capital. Sixteen greater London MPs are receiving up to £22,000 a year for the ‘necessary costs incurred when staying overnight away from their main home for the purpose of performing parliamentary duties’. Critics have described the allowance as ‘extraordinary’, especially with the more family friendly hours introduced to parliamentary sittings in 2002.
Staying in London, if you live near a tube station, your property could be worth up to £80,000 more. According to a new survey, only one person in every eight would consider buying a home more than 30 minutes’ walk from a tube station and about one in four would walk no longer than five minutes. The average price of properties five minutes walk from the tube was £467,670 compared with property 30 minutes away at £387,099.