Knocking down council estates is not a cost-effective way of dealing with poor neighbourhoods’ social problems, a government review of social housing has concluded.

The report, which was carried out by John Hills, a professor in social policy at the London School of Economics, concludes that rebuilding estates is the “most expensive” way of widening the mix of people and incomes in such areas.

“While this may be unavoidable in some places, its sheer cost means that it is hardly an option for diversifying that half of the social housing stock that is in the most disadvantaged fifth of neighbourhoods.”

The report recommends improving the take up of work among unemployed tenants.

It also backs building homes for sale on spare pieces of land as a way of widening the social mix on estates and increasing the density of development.

The review is designed to initiate a debate on the future of social housing in England.

Ends and Means: The Future Role of Social Housing in England can be viewed at