NURSES, teachers and firefighters cannot afford to buy homes in 40 per cent of Scotland's towns, according to a report which reveals the worsening shortage of affordable housing for key public sector workers.
Ambulance staff are priced out of 94 per cent of towns while nurses cannot afford to live in 79 per cent of places, the study found.
Nurses in Edinburgh must now pay seven and a half times their salary to buy a house, while teachers must pay six times their income.
Well, of course this is very tragic but precisely how vital to human survival, on a scale of 1 (it's not) to 10 (water), is being able to buy a property? I would suggest that it might well be desirable, but no one is going to die is they cannot afford to buy.
Jacqui Watt, the chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, said: "We're not surprised by these figures, and the problem is getting worse, not better. There has been a lack of long-term investment in affordable housing supply in Scotland, together with problems like local planning restrictions and social housing stock being sold off under the Right to Buy scheme.
"We intend to make this a huge political issue in the run-up to the elections next year. We will be pushing all the political parties to come forward with far-reaching proposals on how they are going to provide the affordable homes that people need."
Want, yes, but need? No.
Martin Ellis, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "Key workers have been hard hit by the strength of the property market over the past five years.
"It is important that the government continues to develop schemes to help key workers on to the property ladder and to ensure that these schemes are not confined to southern England. The presence of sufficient key workers is critical to the smooth functioning of life in our cities and towns."
Right, it is important that the "government continues to develop schemes" is it? So, as well as paying these public sector workers, and paying for their utterly unaffordable final salary pensions (which the majority of private sector workers cannot get) now we taxpayers are expected to pay for them to buy as well? What the fuck is going on?
Further, why is so much credence being given to a man who works for a bank which has a vested interest in getting as many people paying mortgages as possible?
Public sector pay is now higher, on average, than private sector; their pension deal is far better and now we are expected to help them buy a house? Where the fuck is the help for private sector workers? The Herald reported that the average nurse earns just over £24,000 a year; this is approximately £5,000 more than my highest salaried job; so, can I expect a bunch of highly salaried do-gooders to advocate that the government should give me back some of my money so that I can afford to buy a home?
Can I fuck.
Might I suggest the following? We should abolish the final salary pensions of public workers and exchange it for higher pay at the beginning of their careers. I would suggest that, if there really is a shortage of key workers, that an immediately higher salary would tempt far more people into these jobs (especially if they have debts to pay off). They could then pay their own mortgages and pensions as the rest of us have to do.
Although, actually, we don't really have a shortage of key workers; we do have a shortage of decent management and resource allocation but that is because the people that the public sector hire generally have no penalties for being shit. There are increasing numbers of nurses unable to find jobs because of the cuts that have had to be made; the fire services have too many applicants, always (oh, and work part-time for an extremely generous salary and are allowed to have a second job).
That's really unfortunate but—hey!—welcome to the world, people. Now, where are my benefits?