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Homes on former NHS sites 'not affordable for nurses'

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Homes being built on land sold off by the NHS will be largely unaffordable for nurses, suggesting government pledges to offer staff “first refusal” may be “worth little” in some cases, a report by a think-tank has claimed.

A total of 59 sites have so far been sold by the NHS as part of the government’s public land sale programme, aimed at easing the housing crisis, said the report published by the New Economics Foundation.

“The sale of NHS land is fundamentally failing to produce the affordable homes we need”

No Homes for Nurses report

Among the homes being built, 80% are for sale at market rate prices – but the report found four out of five of these will be too expensive for nurses to buy.

The average price of homes where the new accommodation is being built is £315,279, which is around 10 times higher than an average nurse salary, said the report.

In London, none of the homes being built would be an option for nurses, warned the report – titled No Homes for Nurses.

The average price in the capital for housing in the areas where NHS land is being used for new homes is £561,589, it said.

“Public land….is being used for more unaffordable homes, and generating record profits and bonuses for the big developers”

No Homes for Nurses report

A total of 20% of the homes being built across the 59 sites have been classed as “affordable” options – where properties are rented or sold for cheaper than the local market value. The government’s definition of affordable rent is a maximum of 80% of local rental prices.

But the report claimed only half of these were being used for “genuinely affordable social rent”, while many of the other half were setting rents at the maximum of 80% of local rates.

In the capital, there was only one site that had plans for affordable rent homes that would actually be financially viable for a nurse on an average salary, according to the think-tank.

It claimed the government’s pledge to offer first refusal “may be worth very little” for some nurses in the capital.

“Our analysis reveals that the sale of NHS land is fundamentally failing to produce the affordable homes we need, and is in fact exacerbating the deep affordability crisis across the UK,” said the report.

“By failing to use the land to meet the vast and growing unmet need for decent, affordable homes the government is dramatically failing in its mission to ‘fix our broken housing market’, it stated.

“Public land could be the key to solving the housing crisis, but instead is being used for more unaffordable homes, and generating record profits and bonuses for the big developers,” it added.

“For NHS staff… we announced plans in October last year to give first refusal on affordable housing schemes”

No Homes for Nurses report

A government spokeswoman said: “Since April 2010, there have been more than 357,000 affordable homes provided in England, but we’re aware that more needs to be done, which is why we’re investing over £9bn in affordable housing.

“For NHS staff, in particular, we announced plans in October last year to give first refusal on affordable housing schemes built on NHS land sold for development,” she said.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Disgusting!!

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  • Work your butt off for the NHS and get nothing in return..no wonder staffing levels are dangerously low!!!!
    I think it's beyond disgusting to treat nurses with such low regard when we fight daily to make a difference in people's lives..atrocious!!!

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  • This all started to spiral out of control when Thatcher introduced the Business philosophy in the NHS. Sadly Health has become a ‘big business.’

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