The government’s flagship scheme to help key workers such as nurses and teachers on to the property ladder is being ignored by the people it is designed to help.
Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats in a parliamentary answer show that more than half the homes built for low-paid public sector employees to buy are lying empty.
Just 615 out of 1,393 houses built for “key workers”, who include police officers, prison service staff and social workers, have been sold, with the rest languishing on the market.
Under the £725m Key Worker Living programme, the government helps the workers buy the homes by offering low-cost rental options or favourable borrowing terms.
Although a handful of the empty flats and houses were completed only recently, 85% have been unoccupied for at least three months.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which runs the scheme, played down the problem, blaming “market fluctuations”.
But a spokesman for the Lib Dems said: “The feedback we have had from key workers is that they do not want to live in public sector ghettoes.”