Sleeping rough guide to capital

2nd July 1999 at 01:00
THE GOOD news: London is a vibrant, multi-cultural city with great nightlife and exciting, cutting-edge schools. You should really consider moving there to teach, writes Nicolas Barnard.

The bad news: on a teacher's wage you won't be able to live there.

As schools minister Estelle Morris launched a website to attract teachers to the capital, a report by the London Housing Federation highlighted fears that many key workers have been priced out of the property market.

The website is part of the new Teachers for London campaign, developed by six London boroughs and supply agency TimePlan to head off the looming recruitment crisis. Vacancies in the capital are three times the national average.

The website is aimed partly at teachers in Australia and elsewhere who might consider a stay in the UK. It has something of the Rough Guide about it, breathlessly promoting the city's attractions. "Islington is in the national spotlight!" it trumpets; no mention of the recent savaging by the Office for Standards in Education which propelled it there.

Nor of accommodation, although the campaign acknowledges it's part of the problem. The housing study, Closing Doors, found the average first-time property in London now costs pound;97,300. A teacher with five years' experience could only get a mortgage of pound;65,000. And a two-bedroom home costs pound;274 a week to rent, four times more than in Leeds.

Sue Ellenby, head of the federation, said: "London can't possibly tick without teachers, nurses, and other key workers, but many of them struggle to live in this city. We risk losing them to regions that are more affordable."

Teachers for London can be found at www.teachers4london.com

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