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High house prices and rents blamed for increased commuting

The number of commuters spending more than two hours travelling to and from work has increased by 72 per cent over the past 10 years - with high house prices the major factor.

That is the view of the TUC which has analysed data from the Office for National Statistics. 

The TUC claims those travelling more than two hours per day has risen from 1.7m in 2004 to 3.0m in 2014; those travelling for three or more hours a day has risen by 75 per cent from 500,000 to 880,000 over the last decade.


Women employees have borne the brunt of this growth in long commuting, with a 90 per cent per cent rise in those travelling for two hours or more each day and a 131 per cent per cent increase in those travelling three hours or more since 2004.

Unsurprisingly the biggest increases in commuting for more than two hours have been in the South East but this is closely followed by the South West, along with the East Midlands and Wales.

On average UK commuting times rose by three minutes a day from 2004 to 2014, from 52 to 55 minutes, meaning people are spending on average 11 hours and 42 minutes longer a year commuting now than they were 10 years ago.

The TUC claims what it calls “soaring rents and high house prices” now oblige people to travel for longer as they cannot afford to live close to or in many major employment centres. 

  • Jon  Tarrey

    It's ridiculous. How can you have any work/life balance if you're commuting that distance every day? Don't worry, though, the government reassures us that there is no housing bubble and that
    "affordable" housing is being built. So that's that sorted then.

  • Algarve  Investor

    Prices keep going up, rents keep soaring, the number of buy to leave properties continue to increase at an alarming rate, and everyone but the government can see it. They'll keep sticking their fingers in their ears and burying their heads in the sand until this all hits the fan. Then they'll blame someone else for the mess they (and, in fairness, successive governments) have caused. Surely this can't be sustainable in the long-run, where £300,000 for a one bed-flat is seen as "affordable" and people are paying out half their wages on rent. Surely something has to be done?

    On the other hand, the dream to turn London into the plaything of the super-rich is going swimmingly. So I see no reason why that particular boat will be rocked. Don't want to put off the oligarchs and the super-wealthy Middle Eastern investors now, do we?

  • Dee London

    @Algarve Investor: The Government can see it alright! Sadly the majority of MPs serve only themselves and their own interests.
    As for people paying half their wages in rent - if only it was just half. A standard 2-bedroom flat in my area (Zone 4) costs around £1200 pcm - my income is just below £1600 pcm which would leave me £400 a month for Council Tax, food, bills as well as school uniforms and travel costs. Thankfully I bought a 3-bed house years back and am lucky enough to have a low mortgage, - I pay a fraction of what I would pay in rent. I feel sorry for those stuck in expensive rental accommodation as it's becoming more and more difficult to find something affordable in the Greater London area, whether buying or renting.

  • icon
    • 10 November 2015 11:04 AM

    We left London in 2003 for the sunny fields of West Sussex. My daughter is back in London now for university.

    She hates it.

    Initially she was very excited but the traffic is sh*t, everywhere is filthy, parking is impossible, the people are nasty to each other all the time (I mean pushing, shoving, not holding doors open, that kind of thing), etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

    Her university is there and she's committed to getting her degree, but she won't be going back there to live.

    She hates the commute, but it's better than living there.


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