'Our rents increase by 25 per cent year on year': The London neighbourhood of 'haves and have-nots'

Residents in the Islington North constituency are concerned about a lack of affordable housing but disagree over roads closed to traffic. A pair of young renters say that they will potentially need to move out of the borough as their rents have increased by around 25 per cent each year. This has put them in “incredibly difficult circumstances".

Mary Peel, 71, who has lived in the area for nearly 50 years, says some rents have increased twice in the past 18 months. She added: “There’s a lot of injustice. There’s a lot of haves and have-nots that I’d like to see amended in some ways.”

She also said pollution must be reduced as a matter of urgency. She favours the borough’s use of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), where certain streets are closed to motorised through traffic. “You see more children playing outside,” she explained.

Another resident, Sandra, however, called LTNs “ridiculous”. “Trying to stop a country that is for cars, I think is silly,” she said.

READ MORE: 'He’s leading the country into oblivion': Workers in London’s commuting hotspot have little political faith

Islington North residents talking about rent increases on camera
Rent increases are putting Islington North residents in 'incredibly difficult circumstances' -Credit:Mary Bradshaw

Sandra added more protection should be given to the young people of the borough. “All the youth centres have closed,” she said, “that’s why you see lots of youth hanging around. There’s no intervention for young people, they’ve got nowhere to go, they just hang around parks, and that just makes the police come…”

Residents in Highbury and Islington appear to have little faith in the two major parties. When asked about the most important political issue to him, one man said: “Good governance, and I see the current system struggles doing that.

"It’s too easy for politicians to give away candy to get elected, and not look at the longer picture, 50, 100, 200 years out.” The same man said that both Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer were “lucky” to hold their positions.

Other residents described Sunak as a “back-up Prime Minister”, and, contrastingly, “dynamic”. Starmer was called a “savvy blank canvas” and lacking in clear principles. Constituents also raised concerns about the government’s complicity in the conflict in Palestine, the struggling NHS, the cost of living crisis, and the need to prioritise sustainability and a transition to cleaner energy.

Get the biggest stories from around London straight to your inbox. Sign up to MyLondon's The 12 HERE for the 12 biggest stories each day.