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10/01/2018

Nurses priced out of NHS homes

Words: Laura Edgar
Hospital nurses struggle to afford their own home / iStock_000016846888

The New Economics Foundation has said homes to be built on NHS land will have an average expected sale price that is 10 times the annual salary of a nurse.

A People’s Land Bank has been suggested as a solution to the unaffordability.

The think tank said its research suggests that NHS land that is being sold for housing to private developers is failing to produce affordable homes and exacerbating the UK’s affordability crisis.

The research considered 59 NHS sites that have been sold under the government’s public land sale programme. Of the homes planned for sale, four out of five of them will be unaffordable to a nurse on an average salary, it suggests. If mortgage payments can be afforded, a nurse would need to save for an average of 53 years to afford the deposit.

Joe Beswick, housing lead at the New Economics Foundation, said: “These local NHS sites are community assets – they should be used to deliver community benefits. Public land – which is owned by all of us – is being flogged off to developers so that they can make massive profits, while producing a tiny amount of affordable housing. The UK is facing an enormous housing crisis, and the government is making it worse.”

According to the foundation’s research, one in 10 homes built on NHS land will be for “genuinely” affordable social rent. Based on area estimates, the average sale price for the new homes is £315,279, 10 times the annual salary of a nurse.

The New Economics Foundation recommends that the government should establish a People’s Land Bank, using surplus public sites to start building the homes needed, rather than selling public land to developers.

The People’s Land Bank would be a ring-fenced, national stock of publicly owned land that would be earmarked for developing “genuinely” affordable housing that is built in direct partnership with communities.

Beswick concluded: “The government should stop using national assets to line the pockets of developers, and instead put public land to public use.”

More information and the report can be found on the New Economics Foundations website.

Image credit | iStock

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