While housebuilders face OFT investigation NHS disposals would create multimillion pound property business

NHS advised to lease hospitals

NHS hospitals would operate better if they did not own their own buildings, according to two health leading policy analysts – Nigel Edwards, policy director for the NHS Confederation and Richard Darch, an infrastructure investment specialist - the weekend FT reports. Disposing of the assets would create a multibillion pound property business for the private sector.
Chelsea Hospital

Treasury set to refloat China Real Estate

Treasury Holdings, the Irish property developer which bought Battersea power station earlier this year, is to launch what it claims will become the largest western real estate company in China, the weekend FT reports.

Buying in Mayfair? Expect to pay millions

The weekend FT reports that house prices on 50 of London’s most exclusive streets have jumped 30% in a year. The paper also reports that council tax rises have outpaced inflation over the past ten years.

Housebuilders face OFT investigation

The weekend FT reports on the OFT’s announcement that it will probe the £20bn housebuilding market. The FT reports that the HBF is confident the investigation will give the sector a “clean bill of health”. The Guardian on Saturday also reported the story saying that the Office of Fair Trading is to investigate whether developers have been manipulating the planning process to inflate new house prices. It said the consumer body would also examine why the building industry had failed to improve on its poor record of protecting customers who experience problems after buying a new home. The investigation was also covered in Saturday’s Times.

Firms see red on green group

Business leaders have hit out at the Carbon Trust for failing to help small companies, the Observer reported on Sunday. David Frost, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said that the body focussed too much on larger companies. He said on one of the trust’s main services, a free energy audit, was only available to firms an annual bill of £50,000 or more, therefore excluding smaller companies.

Schools rebuild project ‘ignores green initiative’

The Sunday Times reported that the £45bn Building Schools for the Future is set to be criticised by a  cross-party group of MPs for failing to set an example on green construction methods. Committee member Paul Holmes, a Liberal Democrat MP, was reported as saying it was “pretty stupid” that ministers had failed to put environmental sustainability at the heart of the biggest public sector building project since the 1960s. The report is expected to be published in the next three weeks.

Pledge by Tube firms to banks

The Sunday Times also reported that Metronet has made an unusual pledge to its bank lenders to unlock a £1.6bn from which it has been denied access due to overspend. The paper said that Metronet was considering offering the banks a guarantee that they will make good the portion of the loan that is not already underwritten. Under the contracts, Transport for London underwrites 95% of the loans. According to the Sunday Times Metronet is planning to give a guarantee for the other 5%.