Lunchtime news March 29

Housing associations that perform poorly on development could face tough sanctions from the Housing Corporation, reports Inside Housing.

The goverment is considering basing Communities England in the north of England, reports Inside Housing.

An overwhelming 86% of tenants in Mole Valley have backed a stock transfer with a turnout of 72%.

Papers including The Times report that Gordon Brown is refusing to increase spending on child poverty despite this week’s poor statistics that suggest it won’t succeed in abolishing halving it by 2017.

In the Financial Times Martin Wolf argues that lone parent benefits amount to a ‘war on the family’. ‘Trying to eliminate child poverty by subsidising the form of family that is most likely to suffer from it is like trying to bale out a boat with a sieve,’ he says.

But Polly Toynbee in The Guardian says Labour must stick with what she calls ‘the most extraordinarily ambitious social project, greater than anything any western government has ever attempted in such a timeframe’.

The Times reports on the peacetime house price boom in Northern Ireland, with bidding for a house in Belfast’s former ‘murder triangle’ reaching £800,000.

The Housing Corporation has published a study by the Chartered Institute of Housing into the rationalisation of housing association stock.

CIH Cymru has published a new report on housing and its benefits in Wales.

NHF chief executive David Orr told Euro MPs yesterday that household energy efficiency improvements should be zero rated for VAT and that the government’s plan for a 5% rate does not go far enough.

The DCLG has published a regulatory impact assessment of home information packs, launched a new website aimed at industry and published the results of consultation.

The DCLG has also posted advice to local authorities on working together to identify sub-regional housing markets and practice guidance on strategic housing market assessments.