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In the papers today: 15.01.08

Post-holiday penny pinching and the looming recession have left the papers rife with stories on, concerned with, and in panic over, money. The Times headlines one lead story: ‘Turner winner will be paid to give art lovers the runaround’, as we learn that hyperminimalist (parody-maker?) Martin Creed has been commissioned by Nick Serota to deliver a work for the Tate over three years for a six-figure sum. Just underneath, the paper highlights the value of a winning Ebay bid for a Banksy (wall included) of over £200,000.

Meanwhile, floating on its economic strength, engineering-to-construction firm Balfour Beatty has survived its parting with Metronet. While the company remains healthy, ‘the group is expensive relative to its historical value and its peers in the construction sector,’ says the Financial Times. ‘A broad economic slowdown would put a drag on work from the private sector… and could also tighten the public purse strings.’ The Independent remains more positive, headlining its piece on the firm ‘Balfour can profit after escape from Metronet debacle’.

Two longstanding and constantly evolving problems of urban economics remain so. The Times publishes a story on how the 2012 Olympics will leave a '£1 billion black hole that will hit sport and the arts’ and includes information on the current cost of the Games (£9.3 billion) and, interestingly, the original estimated value of the development land associated with the Olympics (£1.8 billion) and how much it’s valued at now (£800 million). Because the delivery authority originally overestimated the amount it could recoup in land sales, it is currently requesting additional funding (£675 million) to offset the miscalculation.

The Evening Standard beats its own dead horse, outlining Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Brian Paddick’s proposals to cut back on inner city congestion. His plan? Raise the congestion charge even higher, to an whopping £20, or, his ‘nuclear option’ — ban all cars from entering central London entirely.

It’s January, we’re all worrying about money and, I’m sure, resolving to make 2008 a year of committing green. What better time to go the escapist route? Peter Pan creator JM Barrie’s west London house is for sale, reports the Evening Standard. With its dollhouse colours and days-of-yore romance, forget everything and let your imagination guide you… or some such fairytale moral.

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