The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us all hard in many ways – the terrible death toll, friends and family or ourselves contracting the virus, plus the lost months of lockdown. There are real concerns, too, about the long-term impacts of the pandemic, particularly on jobs and incomes.
The crisis hit some sectors and types of work harder than others, including a massive impact on some of our huge local employers, like Heathrow Airport. This has made the income disparity in our borough even worse than before.
At one end of our borough, the average household income is around £73,000 a year. At the other end, in Southall or Northolt, it can be as little as £42,000. For too many Ealing residents, a hard day’s work doesn’t lead to a decent day’s pay. Thousands of working people in our borough rely on benefits to make ends meet, or work in insecure, precarious employment.
Everyone in Ealing should be able to thrive, not simply survive on the breadline. Ensuring decent living incomes for all is the silver bullet to so many issues – it tackles poor housing and reduces health inequalities.
That’s why so much of the focus of the winter edition of Around Ealing magazine is on how we are helping and supporting people into good jobs and to boost their skills. You can read about our Plan for Good Jobs, how we are supporting apprentices of all ages, the opportunities that the green economy offers, and where you can find career support.
To be successful at securing decent living incomes for all, we also need to provide the right environment for business to prosper in the borough, enabling them to create good jobs.
So many great local businesses have struggled through the pandemic, especially those who rely on our high streets. So, it’s great to see the work that our High Streets Taskforce has done to help businesses re-open safely and to encourage people to get back to their local shops and businesses – something that I’d really urge everyone to do this festive season. We’re working hard to support small and medium sized enterprises, but we’re also working closely with our major employers too – talking to them about how we can co-operate on some of the big issues, like encouraging take-up of the London Living Wage across all the sectors of our economy; supporting the green transition as we work to tackle the climate crisis; and building sustainable communities where local businesses have a stake in making them a great place to live and work.
In Ealing, we’re still the Queen of the Suburbs. It’s a key part of who we are. But we’re also proud of our history as a borough of industries, creators and makers, whether that’s Southall’s role as London’s bread basket, the high-tech manufacturing of Greenford and Northolt, or Ealing’s role in the cultural sector. We need a new vision that encompasses that as a key part of our borough’s future, delivering more jobs, not simply more homes. We want to be a place where people come to live and work, with great green spaces and culture to enjoy as well.
That’s why we’ve recently launched Shaping Ealing. This is a big conversation about the fundamental question on how you want to see Ealing change for the better.
The pandemic has been a huge upheaval, which has changed how many of us live or work, possibly for ever. Shaping Ealing is about providing the space for the council to engage with you on how we shape our borough to meet that change and encourage more great jobs locally. Please do take part and let us know what you want for the future of our borough.