The Office for National Statistics today concluded that Housing Associations should be counted as public sector organisations and their debt included in the public accounts. The government asked ONS to look at this as part of its campaign to impose the right to buy on housing associations.
Housing Associations are regulated charities, have a gigantic asset base and until recently a very secure income stream as the indirect recipient of billions in housing benefit. That has led to them having £64 billion in drawn down loans.
Public Sector Net Debt is approximately £1.5 trillion so this accounting decision would seem to add 4% to UK debt.
"It was judged that all PRPs should be considered as institutional units as they have the ability to incur liabilities and hold assets on their own accounts, enter into contracts, and exhibit sufficient decision making autonomy. "ONS also concluded that PRPs are subject to public sector control due to, amongst other things; HM Government consent powers over disposals of social housing assets; HM Government consent powers over constitutional restructuring of PRPs' constitutional documents; and HM Government powers over the management of PRPs.