In its editorial, The Guardian looks at Gordon Brown’s attempts to conceal the huge sums he was pumping into UK infrastructure projects via the Private Finance Initiative. The Guardian says that in today’s slump, economic respectability requires more proactive pursuit of growth but that George Osborne’s PF2 is not delivering. The IMF is only the latest establishment voice to call on Mr Osborne to increase capital spending. The Guardian suggests that the arm’s-length borrowing of Gordon Brown “was frequently on outrageous terms, but the hospitals got built…”
The front page of the Daily Mail is given over to Nick Boles, the Planning Minister, who has suggested building more houses will create more “human happiness” than preserving fields. The Mail’s leader piece admits that “with mass immigration, increasing longevity and marital breakdown, only a fool would deny that Britain faces an acute and growing housing crisis” and that there’s a “strong case for streamlining planning procedures and speeding up building where permission has already been granted”. But the paper says Boles is advocating “tearing up” restrictions on barn conversions and “browbeating councils into designating land for development”. “With acres of brownfield sites available,” it says, “there is no excuse for imposing them where they are not wanted” concluding “[our housing shortages] need not – and must not – be solved at the expense of our children’s and grandchildren’s heritage.”
The number of renters in London has grown dramatically over the past 10 years, with 50% of people now renting, according to Cluttons. 30% of people in the UK rent. City AM says the report cited the rising prices of London property as one reason for the emerging gulf. Metro offers solace for those looking to get on the property ladder; David Newnes of LSL Property Services says easing mortgage lending criteria is helping more first time buyers to realise their dream of home ownership.
Recruitment & Employment
The Independent’s leader piece is given over to “the jobless recovery”. The piece addresses a report from the think-tank The Resolution Foundation on the current employment paradox – an economic downturn without an equivalent loss of jobs – could be matched by an economic upturn without the increase in jobs that would be expected to go with it. The Independent says “if this is the future, ministers have some thinking to do beyond the standard calls for more apprenticeships, better training, and incentives to encourage more long-term unemployed people into work.”