Lunchtime news June 9

The decent homes initiative is leaving hundreds of people who bought former council flats in England facing homelessness. Many homeowners are receiving bills for thousands of pounds for repairs they say they cannot afford. One homeowner, who bought his flat in the London borough of Westminster in 2003 for about £40,000, has received a bill for £58,000 – about three times his annual household income.

One in three British children lives in relative poverty, says a report from the four children’s commissioners in the UK. The joint report by Sir Al Aynsley-Green, children’s commissioner for England, and his counterparts Kathleen Marshall, Scotland, Keith Towler, Wales, and Patricia Lewsley, Northern Ireland, will be presented to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child this week.

House prices will fall by nearly 50 per cent by 2011 then slowly climb back to current market values over a period of about six years, according to an index of residential property futures. The index, based on the Halifax monthly house price index, is designed for banks, pension funds, insurance companies and housebuilders to trade on the future values of property.

More and more tenants are being evicted due to their landlords’ financial difficulties, according to figures from Britain’s biggest buy-to-let lender, Bradford and Bingley. The stats revealed that the number of investor landlord mortgages that are at least three months in arrears jumped 52 per cent from 1,995 at the end of December to 3,037 at the end of April.

The slowdown in the housing market has hit a brick wall. The chief executive of Wienerberger, the world’s largest brick maker, said that plants in Surrey and Devon would be shut down in the face of a very weak British housing market.