Infrastructure 'is the new kale'

A claim that infrastructure is 'the new kale' with politicians keen to join the new 'fad' features in today's newspaper round-up.

Ministers "are dazzled by the idea of a third Heathrow runway and HS2", Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins writes. Jenkins says that "infrastructure is the new kale. It is the latest fad on the block. Every politician wants more of it. To Labour and Tory, TUC and CBI, infrastructure is the acceptable face of borrowing and spending. All will be well if we just pour billions into concrete."

Housebuilder Barratt Developments "is engulfed in a corruption scandal after one of its top executives was arrested on suspicion of bribery following an investigation into the awarding of contracts to suppliers", the Guardian reports. The newspaper says that "Alastair Baird, Barratt’s regional managing director for London, was arrested on Wednesday by the Metropolitan police after the housebuilder handed over the findings of an internal investigation. He has been suspended from his job at the FTSE 100 company following the arrest".

The construction sector "has slowed since the EU referendum, but the outlook is expected to improve over the next 12 months", according to the Telegraph. The newspaper says that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ construction market survey reported a "significant slowdown on the trend growth over the previous three years". But it adds that surveyors who were polled "were optimistic about the next 12 months".

The Times (subscription required) reports that builders’ merchant Travis Perkins has issued a profit warning and announced plans to close 30 branches and cut 600 jobs because of slow sales and falling demand.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron was warned by his policy chief a year ago that the government was "exposed on Heathrow" because it had "no answers to concerns raised over air quality", the Telegraph reports. The newspaper says that a "memo, written by senior adviser Camilla Cavendish, raised alarm about a Whitehall air quality plan drafted by the environment department which was then run by Liz Truss."

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