The Co-operative Group has joined a scheme to offer 70,000 of its workers an interest-free loan to pay the deposit on a rented home.
The scheme, pioneered in London last year by Mayor Boris Johnson and housing and homelessness charity Shelter, is now rolling out nationally. The Group is the first major employer to offer the incentive to staff, which operates along the same lines as businesses that pay for travel season tickets.
On average, renters in England pay more than £1,200 for deposits when they move into privately rented homes, according to recent research. The sector has nearly doubled in the country in the past ten years and there are now more than 9 million renters nationwide.
The scheme was launched at the Group’s office in St. Pauls, London, attended by housing minister Brandon Lewis, deputy mayor of London for housing Richard Blakeway and the Group’s director of resourcing and diversity, Adrian Shooter.
Group chief executive Richard Pennycook said: “For colleagues looking to rent their own home, raising the money for a deposit can be a real stretch. We are delighted to offer this helping hand to our colleagues and fully support this initiative.”
Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb, also at the launch, said: “Finding the money to pay for a deposit shouldn’t stop someone from getting a home for their family – but, as the cost of housing keeps rising, more and more people are struggling to do just that. That’s why, after we successfully piloted the scheme for our own staff last year, we’re now calling on employees across the country to do the same and help their staff move home without breaking the bank.”