Britain’s biggest union says Government plans to give key workers 30% discounts on their first homes must be balanced with a council housing strategy that recognises the role of affordable rents in tackling the housing crisis.
Unite says the ‘First Home’ policy already attracting concern across the housing sector can’t deflect from the “root cause” of the housing crisis – a lack of affordable homes to buy or rent made worse by flatlining wages.
“Many areas, especially in places like London, Bristol and Oxford, are being hollowed out not just of professionals like nurses and police officers, but other workers, such as hospital and school cleaners, care workers and many others, who are also integral to keeping our public services running,” said Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail.
“It is right that the property market is made more accessible to working people, but if the government is to create a sustainable housing strategy it must also invest in public housing, hold speculators to account and give more freedom to local councils,” she said.
Under ‘First Home’, house buyers from eligible professions, such as nurses, police officers and those in the military, could save around £100,000 on their first property.
Developers would participate in the scheme by applying for Section 106 local authority planning agreements, which are also frequently used to develop social housing for affordable rents.