New rental deposit loan scheme launched

A new employee loan scheme to support council staff with rental deposits has been introduced which will see interest free loans offered to help meet the costs of housing in the city. 

The scheme is a first for the council which it hopes will inspire other employers in the city to support their staff with pay and benefits that can help people in need and retain workers in Brighton & Hove. 

Leader of the Council, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “The cost of living is one of the biggest concerns for people in Brighton & Hove and across the country  at the moment.  

“The stark reality for many is that wages are simply not keeping pace with rising inflation and soaring energy bills.

“The council wants to care for employees as much as provide good quality public services. We know that to deliver the critical city services our communities need, and which are helping Brighton & Hove through the worst of the pandemic, we need to recruit and retain motivated people. 

“However, we also know that staff are experiencing the same cost-of-living crisis that our residents face, against a backdrop of spiralling housing rents. 

“We want to do what we can for everyone in the city at this challenging time and that applies to council staff as well. The council’s People Promise outlines many of the ways we as an employer value staff and I intend to keep listening to staff and unions to improve the offer.  

“The new rental deposit scheme, alongside a wide range of other employee benefits, means the council can continue to be a caring employer and help staff to do their best for the city.

“In a competitive labour market of course some of that’s about fair pay, but it’s also about other benefits that help.” 

Rental Deposit loan scheme 

The scheme helps staff avoid the need for high-cost personal loans by offering an interest free loan to pay for the deposit asked for upfront by letting agents or landlords when renting a property. 

When staff take the loan they’ll repay this over an agreed number of months directly from their salary subject to eligibility and approval.

The scheme is currently available to all council staff from their first day of employment, except for those on short-term or casual contracts.

A model scheme will shortly be available to Brighton & Hove City Council schools if they wish to offer this as an option for their own staff.

Other council staff benefits 

The council aims to be an employer of choice in the city and have a range of staff benefits and rewards available. In addition to being a Living Wage employer, they also offer:

•    My Staff Shop – access to an online platform offering benefits, free advice and savings on national and local brands 
•    loans for large purchases – such as 0% loans for bikes and travel season tickets 
•    additional annual leave purchase scheme 
•    SimplyHealth medical cash plan and other health and wellbeing discounts 
•    pension and Shared Cost Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) schemes 
•    time off for voluntary work and Give As You Earn tax free donations to a chosen charity through their salary 
•    Employee Assistance Programme from CareFirst, offering confidential and free counselling, information and advice 
•    professional and personal skill development