Lunchtime news June 26



Planners and developers have called on the government to end uncertainty over the proposed planning gain supplement. The Royal Town Planning Institute, British Property Federation and British Retail Consortium say the current plan is unworkable but the uncertainty is stopping the development of alternatives that could help fund infrastructure for sustainable communities.

There’s some positive news for Tony Blair’s all important legacy. A new London School of Economics study has found that a decline in social mobility in the 1970s and 1980s has levelled off, suggesting that new Labour may have stopped things getting worse. Even so, the study finds that children from poorer families have less chance of improving their lives in Britain than those in most other wealthy countries.





To compound the problems facing children, The Times reports that 10 per cent of five to 16-year-olds suffer from significant emotional and behavioural problems (ranging from depression to eating disorders), compared with between five and 10 per cent for adults. The Institute of Psychiatry says that the number of teenagers with emotional and behavioural problems has doubled between 1974 and 1999.

Even the big city hedge funds are being hit by the sub-prime meltdown in the US and Britain, reports the Telegraph. Queen’s Walk Investments, the ‘elite’ fund run by Cheyne Capital Management, has posted losses of £46m for the first quarter.

The shockwaves are also being felt further down the wealth chain. The Consumer Credit Counselling Service says there was a 17.5 per cent increase in the number of people calling its helpline in the first five months of 2014.

Good news, says Tom Stevenson in the Telegraph. ‘The explosion of personal debt…is a dreadful social ill but in the short term it has probably been a net positive for investors because the country’s reckless spending spree has given a boost to corporate profits.’ That’s alright then.

A study by the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit forecasts that by 2026 the cheapest English homes will cost 10 times the average earnings of the poorest 25% of people.