Home ownership a ‘pipe dream’ for public sector workers

10 Sep 18

Low pay and the high cost of renting make home ownership a “pipe dream” for most public sector workers, a trade union has said.

Research by the public sector giant Unison indicates that some workers would need to save for decades to amass enough for a deposit on a home.

Unison’s report Priced Out, published on yesterday, estimated that in all of England’s regions as well as Wales and Scotland it would take a first-time buyer at least 14 years to build up a deposit.

Its research is based on salaries for employees in five jobs – NHS cleaner, teaching assistant, librarian, nurse and police community support officer (PCSO) – who are first-time buyers saving £100 a month for a deposit.

The report found that in London it would take such workers between 35 and a staggering 132 years to find the money necessary for a deposit, depending on where the property was.

It also revealed that a teaching assistant earning £19,500 a year in the South East would need to apply for a mortgage that was more than 11 times their annual wage. In the East of England, a PCSO on £23,000 would need nearly 9 times their pay.

The Bank of England’s maximum lending limit is 4.5 times a person’s salary.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said; “Owning a home is now little more than a pipe dream for most public sector workers.

“Deposits and mortgages are quite simply way out of reach, while the spiralling cost of renting is eating up a growing proportion of the take home pay of working people across Britain.

“Wage rises haven’t kept pace with soaring house prices and rents, and the situation looks set to worsen.”

Prentis suggested that employees are being forced to work further away from their jobs and young people can no longer afford to move out of the family home.

An MHCLG spokesperson said: “This government is committed to helping more people get on the housing ladder and  last year saw the highest number of first time buyers for over a decade.

“Through our Help to Buy scheme and the cut in stamp duty for first time buyers we are helping restore the dream of home ownership for a new generation.”

In July the government announced that it will offer a pay rise to public sector workers including soldiers, teachers and prison officers after it had announced a NHS staff pay rise a month earlier.

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