O2 will 'be more dog' but guess who foots bill?


Mark Leftly: Nuclear clean-up has been a toxic waste of public money

Westminster Outlook A hapless consortium led by URS (now part of US rival Aecom) was finally axed from leading the clean-up of Cumbria’s Sellafield last week.

Railway workers on the tracks outside King's Cross, London

Mark Leftly: If we're to boost rail industry exports, Britain must ditch its underdog attitude

Westminster Outlook The rail sector is, at £9.3bn a year and 212,000 jobs, a surprisingly large chunk of the UK economy, and the industry’s political and business influence is only set to grow with the country’s biggest revamp of major lines and stations in more than a century.

James Moore: Some straight-talking sense from Davos

Outlook Earlier this week I highlighted how, despite constant whining, Britain’s financial services industry is doing rather well under the new, sterner, regulatory regime imposed since the financial crisis. The same is true globally.

James Moore: Ministers make life harder for freelancers

Outlook Some good news for the Chancellor: unemployment has fallen again, to a six-year low. Moreover, the proportion of the part-timers who would like to be employed full time is also falling, to 16.2 per cent in the three months to November, down from 18 per cent  a year ago.

'I’m much more inclined to feel sympathy for a family sandwich shop than I am a 900-strong pub chain'

James Moore: Don't shed too many tears for Tim Martin and JD Wetherspoon

Outlook Faced with disappointing sales figures, JD Wetherspoon indulged in a Wednesday whinge. First, the chairman and founder of the business, Tim Martin, is furious about the supermarkets and their loss-leading booze promotions. Of course, that one has been doing the rounds for a long time. It’s trotted out whenever pub chains find trading tough.

It is the 'unknown unknowns' to use Donald Rumsfeld's famous expression that bite investors on the backside

Hamish McRae: Forget the known unknowns - unknown unknowns are the worry

Economic View: When you make money you are clever; when you lose it, it is someone else's fault

Simon Read: Teaser rates should just be banned

The City watchdog has missed a chance to give the savings market the shake-up it needs. It has simply told us what we knew already: that banks and building societies have been ripping us off for years by tricking us into ultra-low-paying savings accounts. But the biggest con is introductory rates that attract savers with market-leading offers and then leave them languishing on pathetic interest.

James Moore: Co-op needs to stop talking and take action

Outlook The Scene: we’re in the boardroom of Big Evil Fracking plc. The directors have just finished a meal of veal cutlets, foie gras and chocolate ice-cream, topped with flakes of gold. They are now getting down to business. The next item on the agenda? Financing. “Hey, want to hear a good joke,” says a fat, bald, white bloke with a gold watch dangling from a chain? “The Co-op Bank says it won’t lend to fracking companies any more.”

The reality is that the Tesco Titanic was pointed in the direction of the iceberg by Sir Tel, but his successor did precious little to stop it

James Moore: It's time to hear from the rest of Tesco's top brass

Outlook The City might be buying into the bright future for Tesco, as I highlighted yesterday. But the grocer still has a myriad of issues hanging over it as Panorama’s feature on the chain demonstrated. It was more entertainment than exposé, but isn’t it fun when two former executives who sat around the boardroom table together and palled around start taking shots at each other?

Satyajit Das: We need economic risk-taking, not financial risk-taking

Das Capital: Few of the problems that led to the great recession of 2008 have been resolved

Growth makes the rich richer - but then it also makes all of us richer

Redistributive action can help at the margin, but it won't fix the problem without growth

Tesco juggernaut is still in the slow lane

Outlook: There have been signs that the chain’s relentless decline is moderating

The Oxfam challenge for the Davos brigade

Outlook: The OECD’s work on corporate tax avoidance has proceeded at a faster rate than many expected

The CBI has demonstrated that the key financial services sector is taking full advantage of the benign environment

Tighter regulation hasn’t strangled the City after all

Outlook: Austerity is cutting into key services and having a lasting impact on the quality of life in many areas

Tax on a typical North Sea oil field is now 50 per cent – as it was in 2010
Financial markets have generally assumed lower oil prices are good for asset prices, resulting from the positive effect on growth and lower inflation which extends the period of low interest rates. In reality, the large movement in oil prices has the potential to create significant financial instability, especially in debt markets, says Satyajit Das
Philip Smith quit RSA in November 2013, calling the internal investigation ‘fundamentally flawed’
The former chief executive, Philip Smith, is taking the insurer to a Dublin employment tribunal for constructive dismissal. Joe Brennan reports on the scandal that triggered the biggest sell-off in the company’s shares for almost a decade.
‘Too much delay’: Louise Ellman, chair of the Commons Transport Committee
Holey Corporate Governance! is how one law firm describes professional services outfit Quindell, in a nod to the classic 1960s Batman TV-show, writes James Moore
The Louis Vuitton store in Austria had its windows smashed by protesters last year
If there is any lesson to be learnt from the high-profile arrest of the billionaire gas tycoon Dmitry Firtash, it is this: watch where you do your luxury shopping in Vienna, says Jim Armitage
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
There has been progress in boosting female entrepreneurship in recent years, but nowhere near enough, says David Prosser
Ben Bernanke said deflation was usually caused by a collapse in demand
It seems likely the UK will become the 23rd European country to catch the deflation disease, says David Blanchflower
A piece of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Donetsk
Last year was more expensive for air disasters than any year since 2001. Jamie Dunkley examines the cost to the underwriters of aviation risk
The rise in the number of whistleblowers is impressive whichever way you look at it, says James Moore
The institution is now controlled not by a co-operative but by hedge funds, where these sort of payments are par for the course, says James Moore
The Treasury Select Committee will today take one of its last chances before Parliament’s dissolution to bowl another bouncer at the chest of the Financial Conduct Authority. James Moore on why we must watch over our watchmen
Princess Anne talks to Anthony Constantinou at the London Boat Show
Anthony Constantinou’s infancy was shattered by tragedy, but he went on to build a multimillion-pound City of London  business. Yet now the shadow of the law hangs over the boss of Capital World Markets, reports Jim Armitage
USC was put into administration by Sports Direct and was bought back immediately also by Sports Direct, with its £15.3m debts to staff, suppliers and landlords wiped clear
We’ve known for a while that Sports Direct sails close to the wind in terms of its business practices. After the performance of its chairman, James Moore says a more apt metaphor might be that it has been dancing with a hurricane
Ben Chu has the answers
MP Stella Creasy
Picking a team is fun, says Mark Leftly
The law on annuities will be changed from April 2016
History has shown that if you propose even a modest reform to the UK’s pension market you’re guaranteed a migraine from the bellyaching, notes James Moore
Ticket signs at Victoria Station on January 2, 2015 in London, England. Increased rail fares averaging 2.5% come into effect today, pushing the cost of some commuters annual rail fares to more than �5,000. Earlier this week, Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said that he would not be receiving his annual bonus because of the major rail disruption passengers faced over the Christmas period, which was caused by engineering works that overran.
Far from relieving the pressure on trains, the 16 per cent increase in seats might not even be enough to cope with the growth in passenger numbers, says James Moore
The story of Georgiou’s alleged fraud snugly fits the victim narrative so beloved of the country’s government, says Jim Armitage
The law on annuities will be changed from April 2016
Could pension providers’ loss be small businesses’ gain? David Prosser finds out
George Osborne was accused of a ‘roller-coaster’ approach to public spending
No ifs or buts, says David Blanchflower: last week’s mean-spirited heartless roller-coaster Budget was designed to smash the state and make the poor poorer.
What a shame that Next doesn’t do more to share that success with its employees, says James Moore
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Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor