Properties 'increasingly unaffordable' for key public service workers


More than half of UK towns are unaffordable for key public service workers including nurses and teachers, new research shows.

The average priced house is out of reach for key workers in over 65 per cent of British towns, up from 24 per cent in 2001, the data from Halifax reveals.

Affordability for the five groups of key workers – nurses, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and ambulance staff (excluding paramedics) – was the worst in the south-west, where the average house in all 34 towns surveyed was unaffordable for all five groups.

The south-west has also seen the biggest increase in the number of towns where the average house is unaffordable for all key worker groups, rising from 15 per cent in 2001 to 100 per cent in 2006.

It was followed by the East Midlands, where the percentage of unaffordable properties rose by 61 per cent in the past five years and East Anglia, where the percentage rose by 52 per cent.

Key workers have been increasingly hit by the strength of the property market in the past five years, according to chief economist at Halifax, Martin Ellis.

"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," he said.

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

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