A £5 MILLION affordable homes scheme will be marketed to NHS staff, carers and teachers who struggle to get on the housing ladder in York.

Last night councillors approved money to launch a new shared ownership homes programme, which will see people getting council help to buy 65 homes in York.

The homes - probably made up of 40 new-build homes on developments around the city, and 25 “second hand” homes bought on the open market - will be targeted at valuable key workers in areas like the NHS, children’s workers and social care, and schools - who currently struggle with York’s high housing costs.

The first people could be buying their new homes by the end of the year, after the city council’s executive committee approved plans last night. Councillors agreed to accept a grant from the government’s Homes and Communities Agency, and to put in £2.76 million match funding from the authority’s own housing funds.

Cllr Sam Lisle, executive member for housing, said the scheme would help overcome the hurdle of large deposits that people may struggle to save up.

He said: “Clearly this is a brilliant result for low income households who would love to own their own home in York, but haven’t been able to on the open market.”

Projections show that under the shared ownership scheme, buyers would have to find a deposit of £4,200, rather than £8,400, for a £168,000 property. Those figures showed how valuable the opportunity could be, Cllr Lisle said. And while eligibility is tightly controlled by government rules, the council can market the scheme to people it particularly wants to help - like the health and education key workers, he added.

Housing manager Paul Landais-Stamp told councillors the 25 “second hand” homes would be bought with input from customers, who would have the chance to select the home they wanted help to buy and could end up choosing new builds. The additional homes would likely be on large developments, and would give the council opportunities to “bump up” the affordable housing ratios on the sites.

Cllr Stuart Barnes, from the Labour group, said the initiative was welcome but would not provide anywhere near the number of those type of homes really needed - 115 a year rather than the promised 65 over nearly three years.