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Benefits rising for ‘Bake Off’ maker

Construction firms' £129.5m fines 'should be returned to councils'

The body representing local authorities called on the construction firms hit with £129.5m in fines to apologise today and said the money should be given back to councils.

David Prosser: Balfour Beatty builds itself a global future

Outlook Balfour Beatty's origins lie in the days of empire, when it exported its engineering and construction skills to Britain's colonies and dependencies around the world. In recent times, Balfour has been a little more parochial, but yesterday's deal to buy America's Parsons Brinckerhoff will once again give it a much greater presence on the global stage, increasing the business's exposure to the US by a third.

Balfour Beatty to buy US project group for $626m

Friendly takeover of Parsons Brinckerhoff to be financed by rights issue

Market Report: Rumours of Arabian knights lift Wolseley

Wolseley, the UK building supplies group, was dining out on some reheated speculation that investors from the Middle East were circling, sending it up almost 5 per cent in the morning.

Investment Column: Watch China before a punt on BHP Billiton

Our view: Cautious hold

Share price: 1555p (+27.5p)

For some time now, plenty of companies, both in the mining sector and elsewhere, have pinned their hopes on the emerging markets, specifically China and India.

The Week Ahead: Hopeful travellers lead the week's results

The travel & leisure sector will be in focus in the days ahead, with both TUI Travel and Thomas Cook due to post updates this week.

Week ahead: Prudential shareholders can expect good news on dividends

Prudential, the life insurer soon to be lead by Tidjane Thiam, is expected to announce a 6p dividend to shareholders this week.

Database blacklist saw thousands denied jobs

Thousands of workers in the construction industry were denied employment because of a secret "blacklist", a court heard today.

Government to approve M25 road upgrade

The government will approve a Private Finance Initiative scheme to widen and maintain London's M25 motorway despite a jump in the cost of the project, the Times newspaper reported without citing sources.

The Week Ahead: Struggling ITV set to announce rights issue

City analysts anticipate a dividend cut when ITV posts full-year results this week. The broadcaster, which is due to publish figures for 2008 on Wednesday, is expected to strike a cautious note in the face of falling advertising revenues, and, according to recent market speculation, may also launch a rights issue and announce the disposal of the Friends Reunited social networking website, which has failed to keep up with competition from the likes of Facebook and Bebo.

Report on Metronet collapse to arrive late as authors are split on who takes the blame

The National Audit Office (NAO) is to release its report on Metronet, the failed London Underground engineering group, by Easter – up to four months behind schedule.

GDF Suez and Iberdrola team up to bid for nuclear power sites in the UK

GDF Suez and Iberdrola are the latest European energy giants to join forces in the hope of securing a slice of the UK's multibillion-pound nuclear renaissance.

Investmemt Column: New chief cheers up Friends Provident

Balfour Beatty; Severn Trent

All change at top of rail firms as finance director leads Channel Tunnel running

Mark Bayley, the finance director of London & Continental Railways (LCR), is favourite to take over the top job at the Channel Tunnel high- speed rail link company.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness