The announcement by ONS that housing associations are to be reclassified as non-financial public corporations, thereby moving at least £60bn of debt onto the public balance sheet, came as a surprise to many. It perhaps came as more of a surprise than it should have done, given that the decision rested upon policy changes that occurred several years ago. The current raft of policy proposals will see the government taking an even stronger role in directing the affairs of housing associations. They are therefore, one would assume, only going to confirm that the ONS decision has moved things in the appropriate direction.
That raises the question of the future for housing associations. There are, at least, three scenarios. [Read more…]