Workers in London are spending more than half of their earnings on rent, eight per cent more than in 2011, new figures have revealed.

The amount is significantly higher than the England average of 27.4 per cent, while in Westminster the average rent for a two bedroom property is 71 per cent of the gross average earnings of residents of the borough - the highest in the capital.

Next highest are 67.3 per cent in Hackney, 63.9 per cent in Islington, 62.1 per cent in Camden, 60.4 per cent in Brent and 60.1 per cent in Newham, the study by the GMB union showed.

Warren Kenny, the GMB's London regional secretary, said: "These figures demonstrate the extent of the squeeze felt by workers and their families in London since the financial crisis in 2008.

"Rents have surged upwards as pay has been stagnant or falling.

"Pay has to rise to allow workers to afford these ever rising rents so the public sector pay cap and the below inflation pay rises in both the public and private sectors has to end to avoid a drop in consumer spending, which, if not checked will lead to a further recession.

"In addition, they show that a massive programme to build more homes, especially homes for rent, by the London boroughs is absolutely essential in all parts of the region and has to get underway without delay.

"We have been talking about this problem for far too long, there can be no excuses for not providing housing to people that they can afford to live in on average wages."