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Annie Hayes

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Property concerns dent productivity

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A new report by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) suggests that housing shortages, falling prices and mortgage issues are impacting on workplace productivity.

Commenting on the report, Fair Homes: Building a New Deal for Housing, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Housing can have a huge impact upon an individual’s working life and how productive they are once they go to work. Huge regional differences in the cost of housing have lead to labour shortages in certain areas, and property prices are forcing people to embark on ever longer commutes. Similarly, workers living in poor housing are more likely to suffer from ill-health, and are likely to be less productive at work. It’s a problem the UK economy cannot afford to ignore.”

The report questions whether ministers’ target of an extra 3 million homes by 2020 will be enough. According to official figures more than 1.5 million people are in need of decent housing.

A further concern, said the report, is the price of houses. The authors suggest that it is no good building new homes if young workers cannot afford to buy them. The report is calling on the government to put more pressure on mortgage lenders to return to what it calls “a more responsible system of lending”.

The report outlines a further worry that repossessions could return to 1990s levels – when 100,000 households a year were taken away from their owners.

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Annie Hayes

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