The£20m Starter Home Initiative equity loan scheme will help 1,000 nurses and health care workers, 700 teachers, 220 police and 80 other key workers to buy homes in areas where high house prices are undermining recruitment and retention.
'Unlocking the housing market for dedicated and essential staff like nurses and teachers will help ensure they are not priced out of their chosen professions. This kind of initiative is vital to secure the future of our public services and attract excellent staff.
'High house prices in some parts of the country have added to recruitment and retention difficulties. Tackling this issue is essential in ensuring public sector workers have the keys to the communities they serve.'
Bids are invited from registered social landlords, local authorities or employers to administer the scheme providing£10,000 equity loans to help the key workers. Targeted areas are set out in the bidding guidance and allocations to successful bidders will be announced in May.
Minister for school standards Stephen Timms said:
'Today's announcement is good news for teachers and schools that want to attract and retain teachers. Over 2,800 teachers have already benefited from the Starter Homes Initiative and this funding will enable an extra 700 teachers to buy homes in high cost areas. The cost of housing in certain places can inhibit schools when recruiting. This initiative gives teachers more choice as to where they are able to live and work and builds on our work enabling schools to recruit and retain first class teachers.'
The allocation of£230m of the Starter Home Initiative budget, announced in September 2001, is lready helping key workers to buy homes. Funding for the£20m equity loan scheme will complete the allocation of the Starter Home Initiative budget of£250m, which will help a total of 10,000 key workers.
1. The Starter Home Initiative was allocated£250m over three years 2001/02 to 2003/04 in the 2000 Spending Review.
2. The scheme is run jointly by the Housing Corporation and DTLR.
3.£230m was allocated on 6 September 2001 to 95 schemes to help 8,000 key workers buy their first homes.
4. The remaining£20m will be allocated as£10,000 equity loans to help 2,000 key workers on the brink of home ownership who can manage to buy with a generally lower level of assistance than that provided in the first round of allocations.
5. Bids are invited to administer the scheme to help key workers in the areas set out in the table below.
6. Grants will be paid towards administration costs.
7. High cost areas in the South East, Eastern, South West and West Midlands regions will be targeted. These target areas were determined by taking account of data on house prices, recruitment and retention problems and allocations made in Round 1.
Table of areas and key workers targeted for the Starter Home Initiative equity loan scheme are available here.