BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Education  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 3 August, 2001, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
Cheaper homes for teachers
estates agents' boards
Many teachers cannot afford to buy homes
Teachers working in the south-east of England could receive interest-free loans and grants of up to 25,000 to help them buy homes, the government has said.

Teachers' unions have long complained that members are deterred from working in parts of the south-east because they cannot afford the high rents and house-prices.

Ministers announced earlier this year that they would help teachers secure homes in housing hot-spots, but the details of the scheme are just emerging.


It will not deal with the underlying problem of widespread teacher shortages

Doug McAvoy, NUT
The government says its plans will help 2,000 teachers buy homes in south-east England.

It is hoped such plans will go some way to easing the problems of recruiting teachers in the region.

The scheme - which also covers other key public sector workers such as nurses and police officers - will cost 250m.

Details of the government's plans will be formally outlined later this month by Stephen Byers, the Transport and Local Government Secretary.

Mr Byers said: "The idea behind it is to provide support for key workers such as teachers and nurses to be able to afford to live and do their jobs.

"We should not have a situation where public servants like teachers and nurses are being priced out of employment in London.

"The problem with many people starting out in these professions, particularly teachers, is that they cannot be assured they can afford housing."

Interest-free loans

The funds will be available as interest-free loans or for deposits on a home or for a scheme where ownership of a property is shared between a teacher and a housing association.

Officials will look at the total income of a household before agreeing to let them join a scheme.

The grants will have to be repaid when properties are sold.

As house-prices in London and the south-east continue to soar, most teachers would struggle to afford a home of their own.

According to the Nationwide building society, the average price of a home in London is now 160,000, while the average for a property elsewhere in the South East is 109,000.

The leader of the National Union of Teachers, Doug McAvoy, welcomed news of the plans, but said the recruitment problem was not just in the South-East.

"The 2,000 teachers that will benefit will be delighted to get some help because house prices in the South East have gone berserk.

"But there's a problem with shortages around the country and there is a problem with house prices in other places, so while this targeted help will be of benefit, it will not deal with the underlying problem of widespread teacher shortages.

"It's thank-you to the government but it is not addressing the basic problem."

Chris Keates, of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers said the government still needed to tackle the underlying problem of attracting people into the profession.

Bids

Local education authorities such as Essex and Reading have bids in with the government for cash to provide low-cost housing for key sector workers and they expect to hear if they have been successful in the next few weeks.

Essex says it struggles to recruit teachers in the areas which border London because housing is more expensive there and workers are not eligible for London Weighting.

A spokesman said: "Our biggest problem areas for recruitment are those closest to London.

"Teachers know they can just drive down the M11 and get more money."

Many local education authorities already go some way to helping teachers find cheap accommodation, in an effort to draw more teachers into their areas and to keep them.

In Kent, officials put teachers in touch with housing associations and also help them to find cheap second-hand cars.

Liz Lewis is leading the recruitment push in Kent.

A former secondary school head, she is the principal adviser in the Kent Advisory Service - which gives information and advice to schools on a range of issues.

"If you help people to get accommodation and if that is subsidised, it becomes more attractive for them to stay," she said.

Details of the government's plans will be formally outlined later this month by Stephen Byers, the Transport and Local Government Secretary.

See also:

03 Aug 01 | Business
02 Apr 01 | UK Education
02 Feb 01 | UK Education
05 Jan 01 | UK Education
10 May 01 | UK Education
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Education stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes