Residential prices rise in Tunbridge Wells as wages fall

The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells gave a professional level performance in the  ISA drama contests

RESIDENTIAL prices in Tunbridge Wells are rising at the same time as wages are falling, new figures show.

The cost of renting a two-bedroom flat in the town increased by 21.4 per cent between 2011 and 2017, to an average of £965 per month, while monthly earnings dropped by 8.3 per cent, according to figures from the Valuation Office Agency and the Office for National Statistics, put together by the southern region of the GMB Union.

In Tonbridge & Malling, monthly wages are up by just 4.5 per cent in the period, compared to a rise in rent of 23.4 per cent to £895 a month for a two-bedroom flat.

Overall, the South East has seen rents increase by 25 per cent, to an average of £875 per month for a two-bedroom flat since 2011, and monthly earnings have risen by only 8.1 per cent.

Mike Barrett, Chief Executive of Kent-based charity Porchlight, said: ‘Increased rents leave the poorest and most vulnerable even further from a home to call their own.

‘Here in Kent and the affluent south east, even ‘affordable’ rental properties are simply out of reach for the people we support.

‘If nothing is done, homelessness and destitution will become the norm for future generations, leaving young people with no hope for the future,’ he warned.

Mr Barrett added: ‘This can only lead to lost communities and a real divide within our society.’

Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary, said workers should be paid more:

‘Figures collated by the GMB showed increases in average rents for two-bedroom flats of 20 per cent or higher in 37 of the 67 South East councils, in the six years since 2011.

‘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.’

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