Around £60bn of debt will be added to the government’s balance sheet after the Office for National Statistics reclassified housing associations as public bodies.
The ONS said: “ONS has concluded that private registered providers are public, market producers and as such they will be reclassified to the Public Non-Financial Corporations sub-sector for the purpose of national accounts and other ONS economic statistics.”
The ONS determines whether organisations are in the public or private sector and whether they are market or non-market producers.
These assessments are made purely for accounting purposes and will not affect the legal ownership or management structures of organisations.
The reclassification comes after the government extended its Right to Buy policy to include housing associations, meaning they could be forced to sell some of their stock.
The extension is part of a wider review by government of the role of housing associations, which previously existed as privately financed organisations.