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Last Updated: Friday, 26 March, 2004, 18:33 GMT
Affordable housing: Your comments
Police in the South East may be among those who benefit

A new scheme to help "key workers" find affordable housing has been launched by the government.

Key Worker Living will replace the Starter Homes Initiative which had helped about 9000 public sector workers.

The 690m has been set aside to help staff in education, health, police, fire and prison services in areas where "recruitment and retention is particularly difficult", such as London and the South East.

We asked for your comments. This is what you said:

Much is said about the problems facing young adults, but not all of those with young families are young.

As older parents with two children we find it impossible to buy. We live in Cumbria and house prices around here suitable for a family with children are about five times my income.

The buy-to-let and second homes brigade are inflating house prices beyond our means.
Michael Wills

I would like to know why this government sold off all the officers quarters that were built for people working at Holloway prison to a private company.

Now they are finding it even more difficult to find staff for Holloway and they did the same to other jails in the London area. I guess money comes before the welfare of the officers.
G. Percy

My boyfriend and I are both qualified professionals. I spent four years getting my degree and he seven getting his chartered status.

Before long there will be repossessions and it will be like the good old early 90's again

We have moved from London to avoid the high property prices, but with recent increases again it still looks like all we can afford is a tiny flat.

It just seems to be out of control. If two people earning a reasonable salary cannot afford to buy something then what chance have firemen, nurses and teachers got?

The government may try and give incentives and financial support but unless it does something to control the housing market it will not help anyone in the long term.

There has already been a 'brain drain' of scientists moving abroad as they are unable to get the support they need. What will the government do when it has lost its teachers, nurses and firemen?

It has been ignored for too long and before long there will be repossessions and it will be like the good old early 90's again.

It is true that the banks are the only people who gain from this, for the rest of us it is relative, high sale price offset against high purchase price for the next property.

People taking out 'buy-to-let' mortgages or buying second homes are strangling potential first-time buyers, like me
Andrew Coupe

But this government move is counterproductive, as is the tendency of banks to increase lending multiples, merely leading to price inflation.

If it is really interested in helping first-time buyers to afford homes, the government should increase council taxes on that scourge of the market, second homes.

Owners of second homes often contribute little to the economy and life of the community and force locals into temporary accommodation, now happening in areas of traditionally cheap housing.

People taking out 'buy-to-let' mortgages or buying second homes are strangling potential first time buyers, like me.

These people are either unaware of the suffering they are causing, or are astoundingly selfish.
Andrew Coupe

Injecting money into such schemes seems laudable on the face of it but the net result will be a further increase in house prices to absorb the additional funds.

The government should make buying-to-let much, much harder

The prices reflect the amount of money available in the system. Lots of 'cheap' money means lots of expensive houses.

The only way to tackle this problem is to increase the supply of homes (at great environmental cost) or reduce the demand by persuading people to live elsewhere, even if in another country.
John Pelan

The good that the key worker schemes do cannot be over-estimated. However, their use does not address the underlying problems of supply and affordability and creates a new problem by creating the slightly pernicious concept of "key worker".

The government should make buying-to-let much, much harder and ensure that taxes on property income streams are paid, as I have my doubts that many landlords declare it all.

I live with another teacher and yet we cannot afford to buy a home and think about starting a family if we stay in the South-East
K Davies

It also should not permit mortgage costs for non-resident landlords to be set off against income, and it should introduce proper rent control.

Also, compulsory purchase powers should be made available to local housing development corporations to snap up unoccupied property. You either use it or lose it.

How many teachers will be in the same situation as myself?

Despite being an experienced teacher in a management position in a school in Greater London, facing the same difficulties as everyone else, I 'fail to qualify' for assistance as the points-based criteria rule me out.

I have six out of the required seven points, but miss out on the seventh just because I work in a school with less than 30% free school meals.

This does not mean I find it any easier to live in the South East than any other 'key worker'.

I live with another teacher and yet we cannot afford to buy a home and think about starting a family if we stay in the South-East.

I do not believe this system will make a real difference to keeping experienced teachers in jobs in the South East, unless it is made more accessible.
K Davies

I earn 18,000 a year doing agency work in industrial water treatment. I cannot afford a mortgage for a house. Many banks will not even offer me one. I have no pension.

What hope have people on the minimum wage?

House prices [will be] artificially propped up, and the rest of us will remain priced out of the market

I am not on the government's key worker list, but if I do not do my job properly, people can die. Where is the fairness?

I am very bitter about those in power who are full of reasons why I must endure this state of affairs.

Housing shortage? Why no correlation with massive immigration over past few years? 100,000+ last year alone. Do migrants not live in houses?
George Young

I will not benefit from this . I am a university lecturer on less than 20,000, so despite taking on the work produced by ever expanding student numbers, I am not 'key'.

My only consolation is that, as all flats here are 10 times my salary, I would still be 70,000 short even if I did qualify for the 50,000 loan!

If this is a 'success' then it is bound to mean that house prices are artificially propped up, and that the rest of us will remain priced out of the market.

The current state of the housing market is contributing to long-term poverty for first-time buyers and is creating a time bomb in that people are putting off saving for pensions and having children.

It was bad enough when the government ignored this, but it is far worse that it is meddling in it in a way that will be detrimental to most of us.

I am also seriously thinking of leaving the country along with all the other 'dispensable' workers.

It is difficult to get on with your life if you are still living at home with your parents. I am an adult professional, someone who should be building a family somewhere, instead I am living in the same room that I grew up in.

I cannot afford to live anywhere, even small studio flats are out of my reach. And the vast majority of my friends and contemporaries are in the same situation.

Most of these people are not in low income occupations. We are dentists, technologists, scientists, accountants and management types.

At my workplace, housing is a major topic of conversation for everyone under the age of 30, a major source of dissatisfaction and discontent.

Oh dear. It looks like the government has finally admitted that house prices are out of control.

I have so many friends, and met many others, who have left the country for the simple reason that they cannot make a life here anymore.

I am not a 'key worker' so will not qualify for this scheme. I have no chance of buying my own home; and rent and council tax are sky-high. Is it any wonder that pension take-up is so low?

When will people wake up to the fact that it really is only the banks who benefit from this so-called boom?
Tim Smith

After I have paid my rent, council tax and all the other endless costs, there is no money left for a meaningful pension, let alone a meaningful life.

When will people wake up to the fact that it really is only the banks who benefit from this so-called boom?

I earn around 15,000 a year. I could go back to university to retrain, but the debts put me off, and at 34 I do not want to be in any more debt than I have to.

I think I may have to leave the country too.
Tim Smith

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Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published.

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

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