Business: Knight rescued banks

One of the central figures in the Government's emergency £500bn rescue package for the banking system has been given a knighthood.

Nick Macpherson, the permanent secretary to the Treasury, is to be rewarded for his work in reacting to the credit crisis. Officials took the unusual step of singling out his "extraordinary work in response to the crisis in the financial services industry", even at this early stage of the recession.

Sir Nick, 49, who has two children, is credited with much of the detailed work behind the recapitalisation scheme for some of the largest banks. He was highly rated by Gordon Brown when he was chancellor, and was one of the trio of senior officials at the centre of the curry-fuelled all-night talks with banks in October.

Sir Nick was educated at Eton and Oxford and joined the Civil Service in 1985. He was principal private secretary to the Tory chancellor Kenneth Clarke, and regarded as a "man for all seasons" by Mr Brown. He succeeded Sir Gus O'Donnell when the latter was promoted from the Treasury to Cabinet Secretary in 2005.

Overall, 14 per cent of honours went to those in industry and finance. Officials played down suggestions that City figures had been vetoed because of the recession, saying the system rewarded entrepreneurs. But there are no honours for senior figures in banking, although a knighthood goes to Alexander Crombie, head of Standard Life.

Another of those honoured is the Dragons' Den star Peter Jones, who is made a CBE for services to business, entrepreneurship and young people. The father of five pledged £100,000 of his own funds to support the Make Your Mark with a Tenner campaign which urges pupils to take £10 and make a profit.

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