OWNING a home has become "virtually impossible" for many public sector workers as wage rises have failed to keep up with soaring house prices and rents, according to a new report.

Research by the Unison trade union found that saving money for a down payment on a property would take decades for public sector staff – and more than a 100 years in parts of London.

After the pay of NHS cleaners, teaching assistants, librarians, nurses and police community support officers were studied, a report found that it would take at least 14 years to save a deposit for a first-time buyer in England, Wales and Scotland, the report Priced Out says.

Unison said obtaining a mortgage was now "completely unattainable" for some public sector workers.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Owning a home is now little more than a pipe dream for most public sector workers.

"Deposits and mortgages are quite simply way out of reach, while the spiralling cost of renting is eating up a growing proportion of the take-home pay of working people across Britain. Wage rises haven't kept pace with soaring house prices and rents, and the situation looks set to worsen.

He added: "The Government has had more wake-up calls over the growing housing crisis than hot dinners. Decisive, creative and responsible action is needed now."

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "This Government is committed to helping more people get on the housing ladder and last year saw the highest number of first-time buyers for over a decade."