Housing support promised for key workers
(23/3/04) Front line public workers who’ve been priced out of the property market in areas like London and the South-East are to get subsidies to help them buy homes.
A new £690m initiative called the Key Worker Living programme has been set up by the government.
It will offer loans, schemes for shared ownership of new developments, and subsidised rental accommodation, and replaces the Starter Home Initiative which had helped some 9,000 public sector workers. The loans could be as high as £100,000 for some London applicants.
This assistance will be available for public sector workers such as staff in education, health, police, the fire and prison services, as well as social workers and educational psychologists.
“We know that housing costs are a significant reason why school and further education teachers and children’s social workers leave London and the south east,” noted Education Secretary Charles Clarke.
The news was welcomed by UNISON, many of whose members face housing difficulties due to rocketing prices.
But the union has repeated its demand that the government needs to do more in terms of providing affordable and social housing through to provide bigger supply of housing stock.
"This is very welcome news for public sector workers struggling to find affordable rented accommodation, or to get even a toe on the property ladder. It’s also good news for the public relying on these staff for services in health, education and community safety,” said UNISON’s head of health Karen Jennings.
It will give a much-needed boost to recruitment and retention in London and the South East, she added.
But the union would like to see even more key workers covered, including support staff in education and the NHS.
“UNISON wants to see better basic pay for public sector workers everywhere so they don't have to rely on subsidies to find somewhere to live."
For more details of the scheme go to www.odpm.gov.uk/