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Saturday, 29 July 2006 09:29
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Key workers are priced out of homes
Research revealed by Britain's largest mortgage lender the Halifax shows that key public sector workers are priced out of the property market in two-thirds of Britain’s towns.

Nurses, policemen, teachers, ambulance workers and firemen can no longer afford to buy an average priced house in 65% of towns, compared with just 24% five years ago.

Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax, said key workers had been "hit hard" by the strength of the property market since 2001.

"Now it is difficult for key workers to buy the average house not only in the south of England but also in significant parts of the Midlands, northern England, Wales and Scotland," he said.

"It is important that the Government continues to develop schemes to help key workers onto the property ladder and to ensure that these schemes are not confined to southern England.

"The presence of sufficient key workers is critical to the smooth functioning of life in our cities and towns."

Seven out of 10 of the most affordable towns for key workers in the UK are in Scotland, the survey said.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the findings confirmed key workers faced difficulty in getting a foot on the property ladder throughout the UK.

Dr Beverly Malone, general secretary of the RCN, said: "It's really important that nurses can afford to live near their place of work if we are to keep them within the profession doing what really matters - caring for patients.

"It would be a disaster for the health service if we drive out key workers from our cities and towns because there is no suitable and affordable housing”.

She said the RCN welcomed the Government's HomeBuy scheme to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder.

ELPG, a group of leading property solicitors, said key workers struggling to buy properties should consider setting up a co-purchase agreement.

Spokesman Steve Spence said they could borrow as much as they could and find a parent or other relative loaning spare money to make up the difference.


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