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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Military to get help with housing
Personnel deployed overseas are among those who will benefit
Armed forces personnel are to be given help buying their homes for the first time, the government has announced.

Up to 10,000 members of the forces who are based in service housing in London, the South East and the East of England will be helped under the scheme.

They will be able to buy a new home paying a minimum of 25% of the price and reduced rent on the remaining cost.

Military based in Afghanistan and Iraq and 2,500 Ministry of Defence civilian workers will also be able to benefit.

About 22,000 people have already benefited from the key worker affordable housing programme, with previous beneficiaries including teachers, NHS staff, firefighters and police.

'95% satisfied'

Nursery nurses, probation service workers, social workers, local authority planners and certain prison service staff have also already been given the opportunity to receive help with getting a foot on the housing ladder.

Couple looking at properties in estate agent's window
The key worker scheme has helped house more than 22,000 people

Under the new scheme for military personnel, announced on Wednesday, those who will qualify for help include regular service personnel from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, clinical staff (except doctors and dentists), Ministry of Defence police officers and uniformed staff in the Defence Fire Service.

Full time reservists will qualify for the intermediate rent service alone.

In a survey, published on Wednesday, of 2,000 key workers who have already taken part in the scheme, 95% said they were very or fairly satisfied with it and six out of 10 said it had made them more likely to stay in their profession.

Defence Minister Derek Twigg said: "Whilst we provide service personnel with high-quality subsidised accommodation wherever they are based, we know that for some it is not the same as owning their own home.

"Now those living in the high cost areas of London, the East and South East have greater choice in where they live, improving stability for their families and offering them the opportunity to meet their home-ownership aspirations."

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