Government plans offering grants to help public sector workers afford a place to live in property hotspots has been welcomed.

Thousands of people working in Brighton and Hove could be eligible for a payment of up to £25,000 each under the scheme.

Both towns have seen house prices rocket in the last year, with some areas becoming more expensive than parts of Greater London.

Housing Minister Nick Raynsford is calling on hospital trusts, local councils, housing developers and other organisations across England and Wales to bid for a share of a £250 million fund.

Low paid workers expected to benefit from the scheme are nurses, teachers and police officers.

The three-year programme aims to distribute about 10,000 grants of around £25,000 for key public sector workers in areas like Brighton with soaring house prices.

Bids will need to show they will help people buy a home within a "reasonable travel to work distance" which they would not be able to afford without the Government grant.

Mr Raynsford said: "This is targeted towards key workers with a strong emphasis on the needs of teachers, nurses and other essential health service workers, and the police."

The scheme will only apply to the bottom quarter of the property market to ensure it is not used by people simply to move to a more expensive home.

Any grants would have to be repaid once the worker sells the house on.

Brighton Health Care NHS Trust, which like many other trusts is having a nursing recruitment crisis, believes the scheme could be successful.

It has more than 140 nursing vacancies throughout the trust and finding staff to fill them has proved to be difficult.

The trust says one of the problems is that nurses don't want to move to Brighton or Hove because of the high costs of housing.

Sister Mary Stasiak (crct), Brighton representative of the Royal College of Nursing union, said any proposals to help nurses would be welcomed.

She said: "The price of property in Brighton and Hove is extremely high, especially for people on low salaries like nurses.

"It can sometimes cost as much as £60,000 for a one bedroom flat and there is no way that nurses can afford that price.

"If they are given this incentive then there is more of a chance they will come forward to work here.

"It is a very good idea although some nurses believe that istead of giving out grants like this it would be a lot easier to simply give a pay rise instead."