Starbucks is going to lend its staff in the UK money to buy houses

Starbucks is getting into the loans business.

The coffee chain is going to start lending its staff in the UK interest-free sums to help them put down a deposit to pay for a house, the Financial Times reports.

The report doesn’t give details on how much Starbucks will lend but the loans will be over a 12-month period.

Starbucks is introducing the loan scheme after polling employees on their biggest issues. Housing came out on top and Kris Engskov, the president of Starbucks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told the FT: “That is no surprise. People are working in cities and not being able to afford housing close to where they work.”

House prices are soaring in the UK right now and are expected to rise by 6% this year.

Starbucks is also getting on board with the new National Living Wage, introduced by George Osborne in the June budget.

The coffee chain will raise the pay for all its baristas to the new £7.20 an hour level in November from the current £6.77. Starbucks supervisors will also get a pay rise.

That’s above and beyond the new legislation, which only requires over 25s to be paid the new National Living Wage and says nothing about a pay rise for those already earning above it.

Plenty of retailers and food and drink chains have complained about the cost of the Living Wage to them, including Whitbread, which operates rival coffee chain Costa.

Starbucks could be trying to make amends for its tax record in the UK. The coffee chain was one of several large US companies criticised for not paying enough tax in Britain (it has since reviewed its tax structure).

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