Dubai’s skyscrapers emerge from the fog (Photo: Telegraph Images)

Another week goes by and another doping scandal engulfs a Russian athlete.  This week it was the turn of five times Grand Slam tennis champion, Maria Sharapova, who faces a four year ban for failing a drugs test.  Sharapova is joined on the list of this week's "losers" by Steve McClaren, who was sacked as Newcastle boss after only nine months in charge, and the FTSE 100 which slid 1.8% on Thursday following the ECB's announcement of an economic stimulus package.  All three will no doubt be topics for discussion as the great and the good of the property industry either head to the Cheltenham Festival to enjoy the horse racing, or down to the cafes and bars of Cannes for MPIM 2016.

In seeking to provide economic stimulus to the Eurozone the ECB President, Mario Draghi, cut the Bank's main interest rate to 0.05% and its bank deposit rate to minus 0.4%.  He also announced that the bank will expand its quantitative easing programme from €60 billion to €80 billion a month.  However, whilst the ECB injects newly printed money into the system in a bid to boost growth , it is also wrestling with a different problem;  ensuring the cash in circulation doesn't fall into the wrong hands.  The Economist claimed this week that high-value bank notes may be on the way out after the ECB announced an investigation into the €500 note.  The reasoning is simple.  The authorities suspect that most high denomination notes are actually in the hands of criminals, rather than anxious savers.  To give you an idea of the scale of the issue, 30% of cash euros are in €500 euro notes.  And yet most Europeans claim never to have set eyes on one.  The Bank wants to ensure that trading suitcases of cash is rather less profitable!

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) published its Transport for a World City report this week which concluded that the Crossrail 2 lineshould be viewed as an investment priority of national significance.  The report argues that Crossrail 2 is essential to combat future congestion with London's population in 2030 expected to exceed 10 million, giving the capital "mega-city" status.  Good news for long-suffering rail commuters and underground passengers already experiencing the sardine-like conditions on the Northern and Victoria lines.  But before anyone gets too excited, it is worth noting the projected delivery timeline.  Even if the NIC's recommendations are taken forward, the new line won't be up and running for passengers until 2033 and the final route hasn't even been agreed yet with the NIMBYs already voicing their opposition.  The patrons of the "No Crossrail in Chelsea Campaign", for example, claim the proposed Kings Road station would be an act of "civic and urban vandalism on a vast scale".  And the Save Our Balham group has an even bigger gripe;  the proposed Balham station will mean "no more Waitrose"!  Unthinkable. 

Comment