Firms urged to help staff to buy their own homes

Private and public sector employers should help their employees finance
their homes in expensive areas to reduce spiralling skills shortages, claims

The report by the Institute for Public Policy Research highlights the plight
of many workers on moderate incomes of £25,000 and under who struggle to buy
homes, are excluded from social housing and are forced to rent as a last

The study Squeezed Out suggests that employers’ support for staff could be
through wage additions, the provision of interest-free loans for a home deposit
or imaginative work-based savings schemes.

IT company Logica is one of the few employers which already runs a
initiative to help its employees get their first step on the housing ladder.

Glenn Connell, director of compensation and benefits at Logica, said 15 per
cent of the firm’s 5,000 full-time staff had opted to take part in the scheme,
which is offered as an alternative to the company pension.

Logica either contributes towards a saving scheme for two years to help
employees build up a deposit or pays a six-year mortgage subsidy.

"We believe we are benefiting as it helps us attract and retain the
best people," said Connell.

Sue Regan, the report’s author also proposes that employers should explore
broader personnel policies to take the pressure off housing hot sports by
siting some functions away from high housing demand areas.

She said, "Very few employers take on board the impact that the high
cost of housing has on their employees. It does not have to be expensive it
might just be taking into account housing when companies are deciding where to
locate a new site."

By Ben Willmott

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