Figures undermine Osborne's claims that sale presented a profit for taxpayers

Water chief's payout 'should be put on hold'

Northern Ireland Water chief Laurence MacKenzie's £96,000 farewell payout should be put on hold, it was claimed tonight.

'Technical error' leads to Halifax bank payment delay

Incorrect bank balances, declined cards and missing wages were all reported by shocked Halifax and Bank of Scotland customers today.

Bank bosses hit back at break-up proposals

Britain's two state-backed "zombie" banks yesterday rejected calls for a break-up of Britain's banking giants, telling the Treasury Select Committee that the sector was "enormously competitive".

Market Report: Return of Ingenico bid talk pushes Sage up

There was plenty of bid speculation for investors to get their teeth into yesterday, as talk re-emerged about Sage potentially making a play for the French company Ingenico following rumours earlier in the week.

Boots poaches Argos executive

Alliance Boots has lured a former director of Home Retail to its UK health and beauty division.

Labour's young ones on the move: 10 names to watch

Being a 'star of the future' can be the kiss of death for a promising career. But history shows that would-be Prime Ministers are far from the spotlight when their party first loses office. Matt Chorley scans the horizon

Quarter of financial services complaints about Lloyds

Part-nationalised Lloyds Banking Group accounted for more than a quarter of all complaints made against financial services firms during the first half of the year, figures showed today.

Consuming Issues: Looking for bad service? Visit a high street bank

Unlike our homes and cars, most people never change bank. Two years ago the Office of Fair Trading found 64 per cent of consumers had always had the same current account. As a result most of us are stuck with mediocre rates and rotten service.

Scott-land: The Man Who Invented A Nation, By Stuart Kelly

The evaluation of a fiction rests on impact not truth," writes Stuart Kelly in a work that evaluates the impact of the many fictions, literary and otherwise, of Sir Walter Scott. Scott's impact was considerable but Kelly is aware of the problems facing this book; nobody reads Scott now, and his surviving legacy is often viewed negatively. Kelly quotes, among others, Irvine Welsh's dismissal of Scott: "Just an arse-licker to the Prince Regent".

Lloyds bank facing 1,850 complaints per day

Lloyds Banking Group received nearly 2,000 complaints a day from disgruntled customers during the first half of the year, figures showed today.

Lloyds shuts up shop in Ireland

Lloyds Banking Group will shut its business in Ireland by the end of the year to draw a line under Halifax Bank of Scotland's reckless expansion in the once-booming republic.

Bank of Scotland (Ireland) to close down

Bank of Scotland (Ireland) is to shut down, it confirmed today.

Sean O'Grady: Who's in charge in a crisis? It is now very much Mervyn, but it should be George

Outlook: It may – or may not, looking at recent events across the Channel – be too early to ask the question: "Who's in charge in a financial crisis?" But the Treasury's latest proposals on banking regulation do not in any event answer it very satisfactorily.

Business Diary: The banker who really is a pirate

We are indebted to Bloomberg for its update yesterday on the career of Gordon Dickson, a one-time risk officer at Halifax Bank of Scotland. Mr Dickson, who had been at the bank for 40 years, lost a fortune during the financial crisis, as HBOS succumbed to the credit crunch and had to be bailed out by Lloyds; he was left thoroughly disenchanted with the industry to which he had given his working life. But now he has a new profession that is much more fulfilling, reports Bloomberg – he is Pete the Pirate, an eyepatch-wearing children's entertainer.

Lloyds sells private equity arm to Coller Capital

Lloyds Banking Group, which is 41 per cent owned by the British taxpayer, has agreed to sell its private equity business to Coller Capital.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas