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In the papers today - Wednesday 13th August 2008

Large public sector projects such as the 2012 Olympic Games are set to weigh more heavily on the public purse than expected owing to rising construction costs...

...In a report that raises further questions on the viability of long-delayed schemes such as Crossrail, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors will today warn that there could be delays and, at worst, the cancellation of some large public sector schemes because of changing financial conditions in the sector – Financial Times

Train operators were yesterday accused of manipulating journey times to avoid paying fines after data showed some key commuter routes into London now take longer than they did 20 years ago. But industry body, the Association of Train Operating Companies, dismissed the claims made by Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat transport spokesman, who said that journey times were being stretched to meet punctuality targets – Financial Times

The jobs market is continuing to falter in the wake of the credit crunch with online recruitment dipping in July for the second month running, according to Monster, the world’s largest online recruitment company. The latest industry statistics come ahead of official figures, due to be published on Wednesday, which are widely expected to report that the number of people claiming unemployment benefit has risen for the sixth month in succession – Financial Times

Indian power companies are expected to delay billions of dollars of investment plans because depressed global markets are making it hard for them to raise the necessary financing, according to a new report. Investment plans totalling at least $10bn – including $4bn in equity and the remainder in debt – are facing delays, meaning that India could fall well short of an ambitious plan to add about 90,000 megawatts to its existing power-generating capacity of 145,000MW by the end of 2012, the report from London-listed brokerage Arden Partners said – Financial Times

Plunging commodity prices claimed a casualty on Tuesday after Biofuel Energy, one of the biggest independent US ethanol producers, said millions of dollars of losses on hedges designed to protect against the rising cost of corn and natural gas had left it short of cash. Biofuel’s shares plunged more than 60 per cent after it warned that it lacked short-term liquidity to cover a combined $46m in realised and mark-to-market losses on its hedging contracts – Financial Times

Big infrastructure projects are facing budget-busting cost increases as raw materials and labour costs soar, say a report out today. With projects such as Crossrail and the Olympics, "the civil engineering sector seems well placed to ride out the economic downturn," said Joe Martin, executive directorof the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' building cost information service - The Guardian

London's mayor, Boris Johnson, has called for an "urgent" study into building a new airport in the Thames estuary. Johnson said the capital needed further airport capacity to alleviate dire conditions for passengers - The Guardian

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