The weekend papers report on the government's ongoing failure to provide affordable homes in the rural sector

Councils failing in rural housing crisis
The Sunday Telegraph said that thousands in need of affordable housing in areas of high second-home ownership are being failed by government policy. It reported that the independent watchdog for rural England, the Commission for Rural Communities, said the impact of second homes on rural communities was still not being addressed a year after its damning report on the issue.

Environment Agency to take stronger lead in fighting floods
The Environment Agency is to be given new powers to deal with future flooding crises, according to the Independent on Sunday. Defra is consulting on letting the Agency take a strategic overview of all forms of inland flooding.

UBS to advise on Metronet
Ministers have hired UBS, the investment bank, to advise on how to deal with the collapse of Metronet, the London Tube PPP company that went into administration six weeks ago, said The Sunday Times. The appointment comes as unions said that London Underground workers would strike for 72 hours from Monday, threatening chaos for millions of commuters.

Suburbs: Brown is starving us into inner-city blight
Gordon Brown is being accused of starving the suburbs of more than £1 billion a year so that problems that blight inner cities are beginning to invade the outskirts, said The Sunday Times. Council leaders – led by Leo Boland, chief executive of the London borough of Barnet – will warn that Whitehall has become “blind” to “the home of aspirational Britain”.

HSBC left with £800m hangover after record sale of its Canary Wharf tower
A refinancing of the HSBC building in Canary Wharf – which this year changed hands in Britain’s largest ever single building sale – has been thrown into confusion, said The Times on Saturday. HSBC sold its London headquarters in April for £1.1 billion, but it is still burdened with an £800 million short term loan that it made out to the Spanish buyer to help complete the deal.

Don’t panic on homes slowdown, says Rightmove
The Times said Rightmove, Britain’s biggest property website, has moved to dispel fears over the housing market by insisting that although price growth has been slowing, there is no reason to panic. Ed Williams, its managing director, said that although affordability was becoming more of a problem for potential homebuyers, the housing market was going through a “typical soft landing”.

Ferrovial seeks quick Heathrow fix
BAA’s Spanish owner Ferrovial has earmarked £17m in emergency funding for Heathrow managers to “fix the basics” as it attempts to head off criticism about the state of its airports, said the Financial Times.

Sir Nigel Rudd to chair BAA
The weekend FT said that Sir Nigel Rudd, one of the leading figures in British business, has agreed to become chairman of BAA, in a bold move by Ferrovial, its Spanish owner, to restore the UK airport group’s ailing fortunes.

Platform gives ground-breaking opportunity for a place in the sun
Investors in overseas property are now able to skip paying deposits on new homes, opening up the possibility of selling them for profit before completion without spending any money, reported the Financial Times. An overseas “exchange bond” platform has been created by Exchange Insurance Company, a London-based general insurer that replaces cash deposits normally required to secure property purchases still under development.

New York University to open Abu Dhabi campus
The Guardian said New York University plans to open a campus in Abu Dhabi, for students across the Arab and Muslim world. A report in the New York Times yesterday said the campus would be paid for by the Abu Dhabi government and the announcement would be made next month.