News

Government adviser reveals his frustration at talk of bank kindness to zombie businesses

Ben Chu: Productivity plummeted in 2008 – and its fortunes are tied to our own

Economic View: Through education and developing new technologies, we have increased output

UK rallying faster than thought as exports leap boosts GDP

Hopes are boosted for rebalancing of economy towards trade and investment

The sun rises over the City of London

Boost for George Osborne as economic growth upgrade points to recovery

...but at least there is some City news to brighten up your day

Investment View: It's worth taking the trip with two travel firms

It's holiday time so it seems appropriate to run the slide rule over the two big tour operators that have recently issued rather positive trading updates. While we relax, they are now starting to focus on the winter season and even next year's bookings. But the numbers to date look good.

Official statistics to track controversial 'zero hours' employment contracts

The Office for National Statistics is to start asking employers how many people they employ on "zero-hours contracts" following criticism that it has failed to capture this new and controversial hiring trend.

Low rates and high inflation take £7bn toll on business

British businesses are losing more than £7bn a year due to a combination of low bank interest rates and above-target inflation, new figures reveal.

James Ashton: Bankers toiling in these dog days will be wagging their tails at bonus time

The whodunnit 'Broadchurch' was praised for its ‘restrained approach’

FTSE set for second week of losses thanks to US jitters

London’s FTSE 100 was on course for its second losing week in a row today as fears over the US Federal Reserve slowing the pace of money-printing lingered in City dealing rooms.

The number of people in work increased by 69,000 in the quarter to June to 29.78 million

Unemployment rate holds steady as claimants total drops

Number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work increased by 15,000 to reach 973,000

Mark Carney sparks 'stampede' for home loans

Mortgage lenders and brokers have enjoyed a "stampede" of borrowing requests since Mark Carney pledged to keep interest rates on hold for the next few years.

Mark Carney's predictions may change faster than he could imagine in the UK with its economic weather

Julian Knight: Mark Carney's economic forecast could be under the weather

The Bank of England Governor's predictions may prove less reliable than the Met Office

Mark Carney starts Monday as the new Governor of the Bank of England

Banks must help businesses create jobs or become 'socially useless' says Bank chief Mark Carney

Banks risk becoming socially useless unless they focus on the real economy and help businesses invest and create jobs, Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said.

Banks must help businesses create jobs or become 'socially useless' says Bank chief Mark Carney

Banks risk becoming socially useless unless they focus on the real economy and help businesses invest and create jobs, Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said.

Ben Chu: Last laugh for the luddite

Outlook Many claim to have foreseen the global financial crisis, but Raghuram Rajan's claim is unimpeachable. In a 2005 paper presented at the annual central bankers' conference at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund warned, in considerable detail, of a possible financial crisis brought on by hidden risks in the banking sector.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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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
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'