Friday, 15 May 2009

Feathering their nests?

Few people would disagree with the concept of helping so-called 'key workers' — nurses, teachers, firefighters — to own decent homes even in those areas where house prices make this difficult on a modest salary.

Under the current scheme, extended in 2006 by the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister under John Prescott, housebuilders are required to include a number of properties in new developments specifically for key workers in order to get approval from local authority planning departments; the nurses and teachers then get an equity loan of £50-100k to help pay for them.

I was interested, then, to read in a recent book from the Institute for Public Policy Research that the definition of key workers includes not only police officers, nurses and so forth but also — wait for it — local authority planning officers.