ONS Ruling Won't Impact HA's Independence It Is Claimed

24DashCom in an article report that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has rejected claims that their decision on housing association debt could impact their independence.

Officials issued a rare clarification making clear that its investigation into accounting would not impact on the status of housing associations.

A spokesman told 24housing: “All we are looking at are the national accounts. It does not mean if there was a change, it wouldn’t have any real world impact.”

The clarification, set out in a statement of activity, said: “The ONS last assessed the classification of Housing Associations in 2003 under the 1995 European System of Accounts rules. Therefore, the ONS will assess the impact of the legislative and regulatory changes under the latest 2010 European System of Accounts Rules.

“This will establish whether these bodies should be recorded in the public or private sectors for statistical purposes and whether they are market or non-market producers. Altogether, this will establish in which statistical sector their activities (including their assets and liabilities) should be recorded.”

The clarification was issued after what was described as “media reporting” at the NHF conference which linked the debt decision to the independence of housing associations.

The critical decision on status is set to be decided by the end of October.

However, the ONS confirmed its decision could potentially add billions to the UK’s national debt.

The spokesman said: “It could potentially have implications for government borrowing or government debt. That’s why we are explaining why we are looking at it.