Clowns & Jokers

Stuck in the middle.... Left, right, centre. It's a mess out there.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Playing a Key Part

Shared ownership schemes. You buy part of a property and pay a subsidised rent on the remainder. Most properties are either built by housing associations or by a private developer who hands over a percentage of the properties to a housing association for a sale through a shared ownership scheme. You increase your share in the buy from 25% to 30% in what is known as staircasing. If the thought of finding a million pounds as a first time buyer in London brings you out in a cold sweat then this could be the answer.

Our joint income doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when it comes to property prices in London. Accepted as we were onto the scheme I was pleasantly surprised. The government were reaching out to young first time buyers such as us and apparently giving us the much needed knees up onto the property ladder. Vital for the rest of you out there lucky enough to own your own home.

Except that when we came to phone up about new developments this happened:

“Are you a key worker?”

“no I guess not. No. So what does that mean then”.

“Well, John Prescotts concern is to house key workers. So all the developments at the moment are almost exclusively for key workers”.

“”All of them? Right so when we will get a look in then”.

“Oh im not sure you will actually.


“Highly unlikely unless you can get your employers to state you are in some way a key worker”.

Right. Of course. I shouldnt have expected anything else really. More fool me.

Alex took his glamorous private sector job to get a foot on the ladder to unbounded, shameless, foolproof success. Where your star studded job is guaranteed and a dazzling career at the top awaits you no questions asked. With a salary that a basic level grim faced health worker would have shied away from as much as he does customer service, we must remember to be grateful to be a part of the golden private sector club. And it included, a splendid, really inexpensive, commute to beautiful multi cultural Luton everyday. Alex fondly remembers the 2 minutes silence in Luton town centre after July 7- when a ring of co workers, joined hands and bowed their heads in silence to remember the fellow private sector brothers in arms who never made it to their private sector jobs. Whilst a group of burkha clad women with plastic carrier bags carved their way through the centre of the circle, apparently blissfully unaware of what was going on around them. (Interestingly, Alex the only non British person in that group, was the only one to voice an negative opinion at this)

We, as much as key workers, sustain the nation. We contribute to the lives of our burkha clad citizens. Enabling them to be out shopping mid week, living in comfortable homes we are subsidising, whilst local councils make sure the council tax bill they most likely will never have to pay is translated into every language under the sun so they can understand that they most likely will never have to pay it.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the tough old jobs decent teachers and police officers do for society. But tell me its dangerous being a police officer or a teacher. And ill tell you its just as dangerous commuting. Tell me our teachers work harder than anyone and ill tell you no harder than the unpaid additional hours and hours that go into private sector jobs. Tell me salaries are lower in the mid level and lower level jobs? Teachers and police are on £23k+, fire brigade up to £30k. These young teachers are earning about £10k more than Alex at a starter level. Their pay will go up year on year, they can potentially earn massive salaries that match the private sector equally. The government website on teaching tells you so! Oh and when they’re in their office based head teacher jobs they’ll get to retire at 60.

If it is something to be offered out to help first time buyers priced out the market and encourage them to stay in the capital then it should do precisely that. Help all young first time buyers make their equally valuable contribution to the city, economy and to society without prejudice. Aren’t we all KEY to something and someone?


At Monday, 24 October, 2005, Blogger Dangerouslysubversivedad said...

Absolutely bang on. I knew there as a reason I liked this blog. I like the fact that your significant other was quick to point out the way that 'native' Brits are so ready to roll over and be ignored by the burkha-clad of this world...

At Monday, 24 October, 2005, Blogger Snafu said...


An excellent post. I totally agree!

At Tuesday, 25 October, 2005, Blogger Alison said...

Do i get a carrot?!



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