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Housing Associations to be Reclassified as Public Bodies
The majority of housing associations in England are to be reclassified as public bodies as a result of a new report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS made the recommendation in their yearly review of national accounting status, potentially relocating £60 billion of debt associations have accumulated to build affordable housing onto the national balance sheet.
The move has drawn criticism from the National Housing Federation (NHF), who fear that it will result in greater state control and could potentially limit borrowing for future house building programmes. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clarke, insists that the sector has no reason to worry.
“As set out in our agreement with the housing association sector on Right to Buy, the government is committed to developing deregulatory measures to help housing associations build more homes and help more people into home ownership,” he said. “I now intend to bring forward a package of deregulatory measures that will deliver this commitment while also aiming to return housing associations to the private sector in the future.”
Changes will be made in line with the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008. There are 1,700 not for profit housing associations in England providing homes for over a million lower income families. Currently, housing associations construct in the region of 40,000 new properties every year.