Lunchtime news June 6

House price inflation slowed to 10.6% in May, according to the Halifax [downloads PDF] this morning, after a monthly rise of 0.3%.

The Bank of England held interest rates at 5.5% today. The move was welcomed by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, but it warned that 2.8m borrowers on fixed rate loans face rises in repayments in the next two years.

The National Housing Advice and Planning Unit is launched today with a report predicting that affordability will continue to worsen because not enough new homes are being built. Today’s papers, including the Telegraph, highlight its prediction that house prices will reach 10 times average earnings by 2026 unless planning rules are reformed.

The general union GMB today called for a fourth option for council housing and a cabinet minister for housing. Defend Council Housing said that comments by Gordon Brown at the union’s conference this week signalled a major shift in policy. Answering a question about the fourth option, the prime minister-elect said: ‘We will give help to councils by new means, by which they can build houses themselves.’

Climate change and environment minister Ian Pearson has promised action on fuel poverty alongside the energy white paper.