UK - Public sector employees in the south of England are to receive housing subsidies in a government drive to recruit and retain key staff.
The local authority benefits will be available to employees in education, health, police, fire and prison services as part of a new £690m scheme.
The Key Worker Living programme – announced by deputy prime minister John Prescott – will target “front line staff” in key public services where “recruitment and retention is particularly difficult”.
The programme will be available in areas where house prices have risen sharply in recent years – in London, the South East and the east of England.
The programme offers four options for key workers:
- Equity loans of up to £50,000 towards buying a home.
- Higher value equity loans of up to £100,000 for “a small group of school teachers in London who are leaders in their field”.
- Money for shared ownership of newly built properties. The worker buys at least 25% of the home and pays a reduced rent on the remainder.
- Intermediate renting at subsidised levels.
Education secretary Charles Clarke said: “We know housing costs are a significant reason why school and further education teachers and children’s social workers leave London and the South East. We need to retain experienced staff to provide high quality services and ensure young people fulfil their potential.”
Key workers can contact their “zone agent” for information on the type of assistance for which they may be eligible.
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