Lunchtime news June 10

With nine out of 10 estate agents reporting falling prices, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says the downturn in the property market is likely to spill over into weaker high street spending and job losses for construction workers. New RICS stats, released today, show that the number of transactions per estate agent is the lowest since 1978 and a drop of almost a third on a year ago.

Newspaper commentators take the results as further evidence that the downturn in the housing market could turn into a crash, while the Mail asks if we’re heading for a re-run of the Winter of Discontent in 1979.

More doom and gloom, this time courtesy of the Office of National Statistics. According to latest data from the office, the UK is facing the most extreme price rises since the early Eighties, following a 27.9 per cent jump in the cost of basic materials – from metal and oil to energy and basic food ingredients – on last year’s figures.

A large majority of people believe that tenants should risk losing their home when they refuse help to find work, an Ipsos Mori poll for Inside Housing revealed. Almost three-quarters of the respondants backed the idea floated by housing minister Caroline Flint earlier this year.