LONDON Too Expensive? Don’t Move To Brighton!

People say they can't afford to live in London. I don't seem to be able to afford not to. Not long ago ago my partner and I were renting in Forest

Hill, a nice-ish zone 3 area in the South East of the capital, and were looking to purchase a 2 bedroom flat nearby. Two years on, we’ve abandoned that plan and are now renting in Hove, having decided to leave grimy London for a better quality of life by the

sea. It is only since leaving London six months ago that I have had first hand experience of just how London-favoured government initiatives are.

I'm a self-employed creative person. An actor, mostly, and I've supplemented this career, as the vast majority of actors do, with low-paid zero-hour top-up jobs in between creative contracts.

It turns out that where you might expect to receive at least £10 per hour in London, the most you'll receive for an equivalent job in Brighton is £8.21.

In personal terms, my top-up job down here pays me £2 less an hour than the lowest paid work I had in London, and £7 less than the highest.

Now, I know full well how expensive London is to live and work in, but Brighton and Hove is not proving to be any different.

My rent for a one-bedroom flat in Hove is the same as it was in London; and the 2 bed properties my boyfriend and I are now looking to buy on the coast are on a par with those back in Forest Hill.

Added to this, our Help To Buy ISAs which we’ve been diligently paying into since the initiative was introduced, are now worthless.

In London you can obtain the £3,000 government bonus on properties up to the value of £450,000 whereas for the rest of the country, be that Oxford, Sunderland, Truro or Brighton, that limit is set at £250,000.

That's a drop of £200,00 when you cross county lines. So although we have the same deposit, and are looking for a property of equal size and value, we are losing out on a combined £6,000 for the crime of moving out of the M25.

I know that £250,000 in some parts of the country could almost bag you a mansion, but to lump the whole rest of the country into one bracket seems incredibly unjust.

I'm aware of the privileged position I'm in to be able to buy a home, wherever in the country it may be, and it is only due to a much loved relative of my boyfriend’s dying that we are able to at all, but should it really be a privilege to own a modest 2 bedroom flat?

Shouldn’t this be something we can all strive to do with a bit of saving, regardless of the job we do or the county we live in?

Another demographic that lose out by residing in an expensive area outside the M25 are students.

I work with several at my zero-hour job in Brighton, and they’ve told me that their friends at University in London are entitled to £3,000 extra in their loans each year for living expenses, despite many of them paying lower rent than their Brighton-based counterparts.

So what’s the solution? Greater devolution? Surely at least more brackets than merely ‘London’ and ‘Everywhere Else’?

I love it down here in Hove, with the sea on my doorstep, the buzzing progressive city a mere cycle ride away, and the best coffee shops and pubs one could ask for. I have no regrets about my move. I just wish I could afford to enjoy it properly.

Anna Mitcham, Address supplied