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£60bn added to public sector debt – but possible new freedoms for housing associations?

£60bn added to public sector debt – but possible new freedoms for housing associations?

Some of the biggest landlords in the UK heard today that the Office for National Statistics has reclassified them from being private organisations to being "public non-financial corporations".

Housing associations registered as private registered providers with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) are now for some purposes counted as part of the public sector.  Their collective £60bn of debt is therefore now part of the public debt.

Catherine Hand, partner and housing specialist, said: "The ONS has based this reclassification largely on the regulatory powers of the HCA and their ability to control land disposals and other activities of housing associations.  The government has already said this morning that it will now look to change the regulatory controls so that housing associations can be reclassified.  This could be good news for housing associations, however, in the meantime, reclassification has no direct effect on their activities or legal position."