Why you should care
Because stagnating wages and a rising cost of living in Britain’s capital make hopeful planning futile.
The latest sign of the cash-strapped population of England isn’t 20-somethings dwelling in their childhood bedrooms. London’s earned itself a new socio-economic sub-strata, which sounds deceptively like a name for young swinging socialites: the Endies, aka “Employed but with No Disposable Income or Savings.”
The name comes from the Centre for London, a think tank. According to their recent report entitled “Hollow Promise: How London Fails People on Modest Incomes and What Should be Done About It,” Endies earn between $32,200 and $53,130 (USD) per year.
Couples with kids earn up to $69,230. They account for roughly one-fifth of all Londoners. They earn more than minimum wage, they’re the capital’s so-called “squeezed-middle” households — people living on low to modest incomes, not earning so little as to be entitled to most benefits, but under such pressure that most struggle from month to month to make ends meet.
MoneySavingExpert.com is their bible
— Centre for London report
These Endies, in the last decade, “have suffered a total loss of narrative,” says Brell Wilson, a co-author of the report and urban anthropologist. “People have very little idea of how to progress” to better lives. Titled “Hollow Promise: How London Fails People on Modest Incomes and What Should Be Done About It,” the report, authored by Wilson and economists Charles Leadbeater, a former economic adviser to Tony Blair, and Margarethe Theseira, is one among others sounding the alarm about the British middle class. It’d be easy to dismiss the Endies’ struggles as First World: the report cites them downgrading their shopping habits from slight luxury goods to the bargain supermarkets; relying on TV and the Internet instead of city outings for much of their social entertainment. “MoneySavingExpert.com is their bible,” the report reads. But the researchers paint a gray picture for Britain’s middle class as a whole, but an even drearier one for Londoners. Since the recession, the capital has failed to bounce back like other cities.
They feel there’s absolutely no safety net.
— Brell Wilson, co-author of the Centre for London report
Rental costs in London have risen 14 percent over the past decade; city rent is 50 percent higher than in the rest of the U.K. The average London residential energy bill has increased by more than 50 percent above inflation. Plus, many Endies are former yuppies living above their means, paying for private school over public schools and choosing ”to squeeze yourself,” says Keith Pilbeam, professor of economics at City University London. But the ultimate upshot may be political. The Endies, Wilson says, are hankering for a pre-Thatcherian, liberal welfare state. Says Wilson: “They feel there’s absolutely no safety net.”