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Benefits rising for ‘Bake Off’ maker

Budget cuts start to bite Whitehall's contractors

As the Government outlines its public spending cuts, companies are beginning to feel the pinch

The Week Ahead: Updates from builders to clarify housing market

Investors will be hoping for further clarity on the housing market when the builders Persimmon and Bovis Homes issue updates this week.

Jewels of British industry at risk of falling into American hands

American companies are preparing to launch daring takeover bids for a host of Britain's biggest corporate names – including BAE Systems and AstraZeneca – thanks to the weakness of the pound against the dollar.

Investment Column: Poor numbers don't give Ashtead its credit

Balfour Beatty; Consort Medical

National Audit Office to investigate M25 PFI deal

Watchdog to scrutinise motorway contract, signed in the depth of the credit crunch

Mark Steel: If only marriage were as wholesome as Tories pretend

Maybe a tax break for elderly people could help them to remember stuff

Jarvis administrator inundated as predators scent a killing

Firms flock to make bids for the separated divisions of the failed rail maintenance group

The Week Ahead: HSBC set to reveal robust full-year figures

Analysts are poised to upgrade their forecasts when HSBC posts what are expected to be a strong set of full-year numbers this morning.

London's Tube deal can't close the gap

With yet another row erupting over the Underground upgrade programme, the fractious PPP deal looks as much part of the problem as ever

Investment Column: Balfour is cheap and US unit gives cheer

Computacenter; Weir

Rising toll fears over crossing sell-off plans

Motoring groups expressed fears today that drivers could face increased toll charges under Government plans to sell off the Dartford Crossing on the M25 - Europe's busiest motorway.

Bidders chosen for £1bn offshore links tender

Thirteen companies are in the running to buy £1.15bn-worth of electricity transmission links to nine offshore windfarms as part of a £15bn plan to improve competition in the UK's green energy infrastructure.

Building companies fined £130m by OFT

Biggest ever investigation by regulator finds evidence of 'widespread' illegality

James Moore: Taxpayers hit by corporate cowboy sting

Outlook The cowboy builder has become something of a British archetype, providing a steady stream of easy fodder for television consumer shows when they're short of ideas. And when the crooks are exposed, they give the bigger boys the chance to suck air into their teeth and counsel people only to use proper accredited companies that might not be cheap, but do things properly.

Top ten penalties in contract rigging probe

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today issued fines totalling £129.5 million to 103 construction firms after an investigation into the rigging of contracts.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
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Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015