The Government is being urged to create 250,000 new homes for key workers as a reward for their efforts during the pandemic.
The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) – a centre-right think tank – has called on ministers to set aside land for a new class of “homes for heroes”.
The phrase echoes prime minister David Lloyd George’s famous pledge at the end of the First World War to make Britain “a fit country for heroes to live in”.
The CPS said the majority of properties should be offered on a rent-to-buy or shared ownership basis, with the rest on long leases, with priority given to local key workers – both public and private sector.
It argued the Government could boost such a scheme at no real cost by enabling it to access £5 billion of existing housing guarantees which are currently sitting unused.
Currently, it said, key workers generally earn less than the national average, meaning many struggle to get on the property ladder or find decent rented accommodation close to their place of work.
The report’s co-author Alex Morton – a former No 10 housing adviser – said that it potentially offered key workers a “substantially cheaper” path to home ownership than the existing alternatives.
“This financially sustainable model of new housing delivery can be done without any upfront cost to Government while providing a sufficient return for investors and a reasonable price to house builders,” he said.
‘If these policies are pursued, we could see the first ‘homes for heroes’ delivered very rapidly with more in the pipeline – a clear thank you for the key workers who put so much on the line during the recent pandemic.
“This would deliver the Government’s goals of more home ownership, greater supply and a better-quality housing sector, and provide a model for future housing development.”