Care workers, teaching assistants and other key workers are locked out of renting in Devon

New research from Generation Rent has revealed that local rents are too high for many key workers living in the county.

Average wages for teaching assistants, taxi drivers, kitchen assistants, cleaners, and roofers living in the Southwest were not enough to affordably cover the rent for a one-bedroom house in any of Devon’s eight district or city councils.

Renting was unaffordable for care workers living in five of the seven councils in Devon and for pharmacy assistants and sales assistants living in all but one council in the county.

On average, care workers and ambulance staff spent 33% of their income on an average one-bedroom house in Devon, meanwhile sales assistants spent 35%, pharmacy assistants 37%, cleaners and roofers 38%, kitchen assistants 39%, and taxi drivers 40%.

Teaching assistants however experienced the most affordability issues of the roles analysed in this research, with 47% of their wages going towards average rents in the county. In seven out of eight district and city councils in the county, teaching assistants spent at least 40% of their wages renting a one-bedroom house on average, with this rising to 58% for teaching assistants in Exeter.

For communities to survive, local people must be able to stay healthy, receive an education, find a safe home to live in and purchase basic goods. But, if those working in vital jobs cannot afford to live in the area, everyone loses out.

Promisingly, the newly established Devon Housing Commission has launched a Call for Evidence into local housing issues.

Lord Richard Best, Chair of the Devon Housing Commission, said “The Commission is very grateful to Generation Rent for providing powerful evidence that people in Devon in a wide range of jobs face unaffordable housing costs. For many, rents absorb far more than the 30% that is commonly regarded as the maximum for affordability.

This evidence demonstrates the scale of the problem in the county created by the shortages that push house prices and rent levels out of reach for the next generation.”

The current cost of renting crisis is devastating Devon’s communities, and we will support the new county-wide Housing Commission to tackle this head on.

Read the full affordibility breakdown of the results here.


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