P R E S S R E L E A S E
10 November 2000
HEALTH WORKERS IN LONDON STILL 'SHORT' OF £130,000 TO BUY HOME
Health professionals will still be an estimated £130,000 ‘short' when it comes to buying a house in Greater London, despite Tony Blair' announcement today of up to £1,000 housing allowances for nurses in the capital, health union MSF has calculated.
While welcoming recognition of the housing crisis facing nursing staff, MSF's Head of Health Roger Kline said today (Friday, 10 November): "It is even worse for many other NHS staff, such as medical laboratory technicians.
"There is a long way for the Government to go in this area, if London and South East are to retain and recruit the health professionals needed to make the NHS Plan a successful reality."
MSF calculations are based on two medical laboratory scientists living together – one on a starting salary of £11,000 and the other on mid-point grade of £15,000. A total income of £26,000 will secure a mortgage of £65,000 (two-and-half times joint salary).
But figures from the Land Registry statistics reveal that the average property in Greater London costs £193,004 and £131,107 in the South East. This leaves a shortfall of about £130,000 in the capital and an estimated £66,000 in the rest of the region.
Roger Kline said: "The gap remains enormous and the Government needs to take more radical measures. In the summer, MSF called for interest-free loans of £70,000 to nurses and other healthcare professionals so that these vital NHS employees can afford a decent home. We would reiterate this position today.
"Estate agents don't lower house prices if our members are not covered by the Pay Review Body"
"It means it is virtually impossible for them to live without working excessive overtime and shifts, moving out of London, or more likely leaving the NHS. It is no surprise that key laboratories in London are so dependent on agency and overseas staff."
Roger Kline added: "MSF members will be incredulous unless early assurances are given that by the time these allowances are paid next April, that they will apply to MSF professionals working in the NHS. We are seeking an early meeting with ministers to clarify these issues.
"We want to work with the Government to turn around the low-pay morale vicious circle amongst non-Pay Review Body staff. This announcement will have the opposite effect unless the Government sits down with MSF and other unions to extend this agreement to all NHS professionals."
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MSF represents 65,000 health service professionals including the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists, laboratory scientific staff, medical technical officers, the College of Health Care Chaplains, the Community Psychiatric Nurses Association, the Medical Practitioners' Union, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, the Hospital Physicists Association and the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association.
MSF has 400,000 skilled and professional members in a wide range of industries.
It is the UK's fifth largest union.