Headlines: July 1st, 1999

Living in London is becoming unaffordable for many public service workers. A report by the National Housing Federation reveals that the average price paid for a home by a first time buyer is £97,300. The average weekly rent of a two bedroom property in London is £274 which is more than four times the average weekly rent for a similar property in Leeds.

Although employees in public service in London receive a London weighting, the additional amount does not match the higher housing costs. The salary of a nurse with 5 years experience is £18,500 – qualifying for a mortgage of up to £52,725. A teacher with the same amount of experience would only qualify for a mortgage of around £65,000.

With London house prices continuing to rise well above the rate of inflation and with modest pay increases in the public sector, there will be increased pressure on recruitment and retention. The Federation report calls for central and local government, the new Mayor of London, businesses and housing providers to pull together to provide more affordable housing.