Also: Brown denies Tories accusation of account fiddling to meet rising 2012 costs

Fears grow for housing slowdown

The Times on Saturday said that figures showing the biggest annual fall in mortgage approvals since the last housing slowdown has prompted concern that the year-long resurgence in the housing market was over.

Brown accused of Olympic bank raid

The Times on Saturday reported that the Conservative Party has accused Chancellor Gordon Brown of raiding dormant bank accounts to meet the rising costs of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The Tories claimed that a Treasury email had been distributed which outlined plans to transfer around £400m of unclaimed assets to the Big Lottery Fund, which could be indirectly used to fund the Olympics.

The Financial Times said the Treasury described the allegations as “total and utter garbage.”

KB Home Enquiry

American housebuilder KB Home announced that the US Securities and Exchange Commission had launched a formal investigation into its stock option granting practices, the Times on Saturday reported. Last August KB Home received an informal inquiry from the SEC relating to its option practices. Chief executive Bruce Karatz stepped down in November after it was disclosed that he benefited from favourably dated option awards.

Brazilians tipped to scoop Corus

Brazilian steel group CSN is tipped to trump Indian rival Tata in a quick-fire, £6bn-plus auction for Corus this week, according to the Sunday Times.

The Independent on Sunday however reported that Tata Steel is set to trump rival CSN’s offer for Corus this week, prompting fears about thousands of UK jobs. The paper reports that a successful bid by Tata Steel is more likely, and that analysts believe this may result in UK job losses sooner than under CSN’s ownership.

BAA to air Stansted plans

The Sunday Times said airport operator BAA would unveil controversial plans for a new runway at Stansted on Tuesday.

The architect of the new Suez

The Sunday Telegraph reported chairman and chief executive of Suez, Gerard Mestrallet, plans to create a £53bn energy giant through a merger with French gas group Gaz de France. The combined group would be the biggest gas supplier in Europe.

Tesco prepares for the battle of St Albans

The Sunday Telegraph wrote that the supermarket giant Tesco plans to build a huge new store on the largest Brownfield site in the commuter town of St Albans – much to residents concern.

M&S pension breakthrough is no miracle cure

The Telegraph reported that the idea of minimising retirement risk by investing pensions into the company’s property portfolio, like M&S announced it would be doing last week, makes no sense.

HBOS in talks to sell McCarthy stake

The HBOC bank is understood to be in discussions with several potential buyers to sell its majority stake in McCarthy Stone just five months after a £1.1bn takeover bid, said the Sunday Telegraph.

Regeneration zones vie to host Olympians

The Telegraph also reported that Stockton-on-Tees, Cumbernauld, north Lanarkshire and Kirkham in Lancashire have been listed as the top places for athletes from the Caribbean to acclimatise and prepare for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Planning seen as key to boosting competition

The Competition Commission is to review the planning laws as they relate to supermarkets, the Financial Times reports. The commission plans to scrutinise current laws which give local authorities to powers to decided in a new supermarket store is needed in their area. It also wants to see if supermarket chains are using the planning system to gain a competitive advantage.

The move follows the commissions six month investigation into the supermarket sector which concluded that planning is the key to increasing competition between the big chains.

Dome boss warns give us super-casino

The Sunday Times reported that the Millennium Dome boss has warned that taxpayers will lose out on millions of pounds, claiming there is “no plan B” if the site is not awarded UK’s first Las Vegas style super-casino. David Campbell, the European head of Anschutz Entertainment Group, said his company would be forced to withdraw £350m of investment from the Dome if it fails to win the sole available license this week.

Blackpool and London odds on for super-casino

Bookmakers have Blackpool and London as the favourites to win the UK’s first super-casino, according to the Financial Times. The decision will be made tomorrow.