Meeting the demand for affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing this country and it is right that the government prioritises it. Having a sustainable development programme for affordable housing will help kick start the economy, providing jobs and training and more importantly, meet a major social need in giving people warm, accessible and secure places to live.

However, the government should not be trying to bridge the gap created by major funding cuts by directing the sale of homes that housing associations already own. Our team advocates independence for housing associations to actively manage their housing stock and this could, in some circumstances, mean the sale of some housing stock in order to build more, but this is a decision for individual housing associations to make. There is a danger that following the advice of the report would simply lead to the exclusion of the less well off in our society from high-value areas.

What we need here is a more sustainable model for the development of new housing stock which can be led by the housing association sector. The government can aid this by removing the barriers that are stopping housing associations from developing new housing, for example providing certainty over future rents policy and creating realistic access to affordable funding.