A new study has unearthed the gap between rent increases and wages in the south east – and it revealed Brighton and Hove is one of the most expensive places to rent in the region.
Research by the GMB union shows that between 2011 and 2017 rent prices for two-bedroom flats in the South East increased by 25 per cent to an average of £875 per month, while over the same period monthly earnings increased by just 8.1 per cent.
In Brighton and Hove, the average rent for a two bedroom flat in 2017 was £1,150, up 27.8 per cent since 2011. But wages rose by only eight per cent in that same period.
The city was also the seventh most expensive place to live in the South East, after Epsom and Ewell, Guildford, Windsor and Maidenhead, Elmbridge, Runnymede and Woking, where rents were slightly higher.
It’s a similar story in neighbouring areas – although the rents are cheaper.
In Lewes an average two-bed flat was £885 – an 18 per cent increase from 2011, while wages were up by 11.2 per cent.
In Adur the average two-bed was £875, a 20.7 per cent increase on 2011. Wages went up 15 per cent over the same period.
In Worthing rents were £825, an 18.7 per cent increase, but wages went up just half a per cent.
At the GMB conference in Brighton, the union said its research showed that employers ‘must be prepared to pay much higher wages to staff to enable them to afford these much higher rents’.
The research compared 67 local authority areas in the South East with official data from the Office of National Statistics.
Paul Maloney, GMB regional secretary,said: “These high rents are here to stay. So too are younger workers living for longer in private sector rental accommodation.
“As a direct consequence, employers must be prepared to pay much higher wages to staff to enable them to afford these much higher rents.
“If employers don’t respond with higher pay they will face staff shortages as workers, especially younger people, are priced out of housing market.
“It makes little sense for these workers to spend a full week at work only to pay most of their earnings in rents. They will vote with their feet.
“Higher pay especially for younger workers is now an essential part of the solution.”