Also: After sinking their teeth into the government over HIPs weekend papers suggest the housing boom could be nearing an end
Foster’s staff force inquiry into trust fundAn offshore trust set up by Lord Foster for his 900 employees is being investigated by a financial watchdog, said The Sunday Times. Six employees have complained about how the trust’s assets were divided when it was closed earlier this year. The trust owned nearly 50% of Foster’s £300m firm but reportedly paid out only £3.6m to staff.
London tube work – one firm on budget; the other £750m overTubelines, one of the two companies that maintain the London Underground, has moved to distance itself from the financial woes of fellow contractor Metronet by declaring that all its costs are under control, The Guardian reported on Monday.
Italy’s financial woes threaten rail tunnel planThe FT reported on Monday that Italy’s public finances could be an obstacle to one of Europe’s most ambitious transport projects, a rail tunnel helping to connect Lyons and Turin. Tenders have been opened for the project, which is one of 30 schemes designed to connect the EU’s member states.
One part of HIPs we just can’t shakeThe Saturday Telegraph recalls first describing HIPs as a disaster waiting to happen 18 months ago and points to the “inevitable shambles” that has unfolded in the last two weeks following the judicial review commenced by the RICS and the government’s dramatic climbdown on the packs.
Home packs by year end, vows KellyThe government’s home information packs should be operating across the country for all house sales by the end of the year, The Guardian reported on its front page on Saturday. The paper said that a defiant Ruth Kelly vowed she would not back down.
New blow to house packs scheme as inspectors laid offMeanwhile, The Guardian also reported that estate agents had started laying off hundreds of home inspectors. The article also said that the RICS vowed to revive its legal action against the government unless its objections are addressed.
A plague on all their housesThe government is facing legal action from the energy inspectors that have been trained or are in the process of being trained, said the Sunday Telegraph. Inspectors are being left out of pocket as the implementation date of HIPs has been pushed back by two months.
Housing market boom nears its end as interest rate rises hit homeThe housing market boom is finally running out of steam, according to Monday’s Independent. Figures from market analyst Hometrack found that two-thirds of postcodes in England and Wales saw no price increase in May. Greater London still managed to post a 1.3% rise, meaning the average price increase was 0.6%.
Housing market ‘overvalued by up to 20pc’The Sunday Telegraph said that British houses are overvalued by up to 20pc and homeowners in the south of England are at most risk of repossessions if the market crumbles.
Subprime crisis harms house salesThe crisis in the high-rise mortgage market made it harder for Americans to sell their homes last month, the weekend FT reported. Sales of existing homes fell to their lowest level in four years with a drop of 2.6 per cent in April, according to the National Association of Realtors.
US ‘rebuffs’ carbon cuts planThe Saturday Telegraph said that Tony Blair has failed to win over George Bush on climate change after a leaked draft of a G8 summit proposal disclosed serious US concerns.
Go green: stop working at home and drive to the officeWorking at home may not be so good for the environment after all, according to the Saturday Telegraph. It said that those who do not commute to work produce a third more carbon dioxide in a year than staff in offices by using extra central heating and power.
“Skylines are under threat”Britain is entering a dangerous new phase of architectural excess with a harmful emphasis on building skyscrapers in our bigger cities, English Heritage chief executive Simon Thurley said in The Observer.
Boost for Severn Barrage planThe FT on Monday reported on the detail of the Severn Barrage plan, which was given guarded approval in last week’s energy White Paper.