The Treasury has refused to pay for running costs of new prisons according to the Guardian. Plus, earthquakes in Switzerland

£350m black hole in new prison plan

The Guardian reported on Saturday that the Home Office had failed to secure funding to run 8,000 new prison places. Money will be made available to underwrite the building of the prisons, the paper said, but the Treasury has refused to foot the bill to run them. The deficit will reach about £350m a year when the prison building programme is complete, the Guardian suggested.

Planners accuse homebuilders of hoarding land to keep prices high

Saturday’s Independent reported that planning experts hit back at claims that the planning system is slowing the rate of new homes being built. They instead blamed housebuilders for holding on to land to inflate prices.

Investors unsettled as homes starts decline

Investors remained worried about US economic growth after new US construction activity slowed sharply in January, the Financial Times reported. Work on new homes fell to a 10-year low, dropping 14% to 1.4m.

Adventurous buyers send property prices surging in remote towns

A new breed of more remote commuter towns are enjoying faster property price rises than traditional urban hotspots, according to the FT. People are now looking to less appealing 1960s towns in order to get on the property ladder.

John Lewis plans massive expansion

A aggressive expansion plan by John Lewis will see it significantly increasing its 26 department stores and 184 Waitrose supermarkets, according to The Observer. As part of the plan the company wants to increase its workforce by 35,000 and double turnover to £12bn. In the same story the newspaper says that the Town and Country Planning Association had “slammed” retailers for saying the planning system is harming economic growth.

NHS in £345m ‘asset-stripping’ sale

The Observer wrote that the government has been accused of orchestrating a £345m sell-off of former hospitals in an attempt to balance the NHS budget.

Green energy project gives Swiss the shakes

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Swiss prosecutors are investigating a green energy project after it was revealed that it caused earthquakes. An inquiry was launched after experts confirmed that the Deep Heat Mining project to exploit geothermal energy had caused tremors measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale.