London 'faces exodus of public service workers due to housing costs'

By agency reporter
November 29, 2017

London faces an exodus of public service workers as housing costs become unaffordable, says a new report published by UNISON.

The report, based on a survey of over 1,000 UNISON members living and working in London, showed that almost two thirds of workers (63 per cent) spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing. This figure rises to 82 per cent of private renters.

According to the findings, nurses, teaching assistants, social workers and other public service employees are increasingly looking to leave London as a result of exorbitant housing costs. Almost two thirds (62 per cent) of workers want to leave the capital because of the cost of housing. This figure rises to 87 per cent for health workers living in the private rented sector.

The departure of staff from the capital would deepen the already serious recruitment and retention problems in public services, with knock-on repercussions for schools, hospitals and other public services, says UNISON.

Ahead of the launch of the report in the Houses of Parliament, UNISON’s newly-appointed London regional secretary Maggi Ferncombe said, “The lack of suitable, decent and affordable housing is hurting public service workers.

“Employers are also struggling to recruit and retain staff. In London, we are seeing evidence of staff shortages and high turnover of staff, with turnover rates at 30 per cent in some areas.”

“The government needs to take real action to resolve the housing crisis. And that doesn’t mean just making changes to Stamp Duty.”

“That is why UNISON is calling on the Mayor of London and the government to set a target to build more genuinely affordable homes, working with councils and housing associations to solve the housing crisis.”

Read No place to live: a UNISON survey report into the impact of housing costs on London's public sector workers here   

* UNISON https://www.unison.org.uk/

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