Lunchtime news Feb 28

John Hills has a letter in The Guardian denying that he thinks providing new homes is not an important challenge – it just wasn’t the focus of his report.

Problem families could be put into residential care for up to two years, reports the Daily Mirror after Tony Blair’s monthly press conference. Go here and here for other angles on his comments.

The CBI, Home Builders Federation and British Property Federation have come out strongly against the planning gain supplement, reports the Financial Times as consultation ends today.

Scotland’s five main housing organisations are lobbying communities minister Rhona Brankin today with a joint election programme [downloads pdf] including a call for 10,000 new affordable homes for rent per year.

A group of 36 leading construction firms has formed a Green Building Council to help rise to the challenge of building eco homes, reports The Guardian.

House prices rose 0.9% in January, taking the annual rate to 7.7%, according to the Land Registry [downloads PDF].

The Nationwide said the market was slowing in the wake of interest rate rises, but prices still rose 0.7% in February.

The Housing Corporation has announced a shortlist of 17 schemes for its Northern Housing Challenge.