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Outlook Raise a glass to Greene King. The pub and restaurant group reported a sparkling 5 per cent increase in sales over Christmas. But fill it with Cava rather than Champagne.

Letter: Pensioner's treat

Sir: Now that a first-class stamp costs 26p and my husband is nearing 80 years of age, I did wonder if the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the kindness of his heart, could see fit to increase by one penny the extra 25p pension due to him on that occasion, to enable him to buy one.

Leading Article: The BBC's challenge is better programmes

The BBC will - we fervently hope - live on into 21st-century Britain. It will flourish, in spite of new technology and the multiplication of channels, because in that competitive and challenging world its output will attract viewers and listeners. The BBC will deserve its ratings if its programmes are courageous and exciting and innovative - which they will be if they embody the value of public service and that historic conception of the cultural integrity of this country which the BBC alone expresses and defends. What do this week's BBC events tell us about the likelihood of such a future coming to pass?

Letters: Labour's tough fiscal rules

Sir: Gavyn Davies' description (8 July) of Labour's fiscal rules for public borrowing is fair and accurate. But in arguing that Labour's fiscal objectives are less tough than those of the Government, he is being far too generous to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Voucher scheme derided as gimmick

Plans to introduce vouchers for sixth formers, revealed in yesterday's Independent, were dismissed as a gimmick and as a potential disaster by Opposition politicians. The Prime Minister, asked in the Commons about the planned manifesto declined to comment, writes Fran Abrams.

George hints at differences with Clarke

Eddie George, Governor of the Bank of England, last night hinted that he had disagreed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer's decision to cut interest rates for a second time last month. But the Governor played down the split, saying their differences were technical. Speaking on the eve of the publication of the Bank of England's quarterly Inflation Report, Mr George said short-term price pressures were "entirely benign" but might strengthen later in the year.

Clarke calls for debt relief

Clarke calls for debt relief

The queen is dead

COMEDY

Private lawyers to help draft Budget

Kenneth Clarke yesterday drove privatisation further into the heart of Whitehall with the announcement that private lawyers will draft parts of this November's Budget legislation.

... and how the insiders rate him

A chancellor of the exchequer has no sterner critics than his mandarins. Despite the fact that the fundamental expenditure review Ken Clarke launched last December has axed a quarter of the senior jobs in the Treasury, he is seen in the department as a better than middling chancellor. One senior official says: ''He is intelligent, fast and has a clear idea about what he wants to achieve.'' A junior one adds: ''He's good fun. He won't necessarily remember your name, but he's very stimulating to work for.''

Barings report completed

The report on the collapse of Barings will be delivered to Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by tomorrow. Mr Clarke has said he wants to present its conclusions to the House of Commons before 20 July, the last day of Parliament before the summer recess.

Aid for UK exporters

THE GOVERNMENT will tomorrow pledge between pounds 200m and pounds 300m to help British business - and place new emphasis on developing the potential of small firms.

Bound to end in tears

as it seemed to me John Cole was on the inside as Thatcher's relationship with Nigel Lawson, her chancellor, deteriorated

Obituary: Sir Ronald Harris

Ronald Montague Joseph Harris, civil servant: born 6 May 1913; Private Secretary to Secretary of the Cabinet 1939-43; MVO 1943, KCVO 1960; Second Crown Estate Commissioner 1955-60; CB 1956; Third Secretary, HM Treasury 1960-64; Secretary to Church Commissioners 1964-68; First Church Estates Commissioner 1969-82; married 1939 Julia Wharton (died 1955; one son, three daughters), 1957 Marjorie Tryon (died 1986); died 22 January 1995.

Snapshots from Cookyland Peter Cook, who died on Monday,has been eulogised by many an old lag. Harry Enf ield, a young lag, remembers a friend

`Something very important's happened,' he said. `Jimmy Hill's grown two inches in the course of an hour'
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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen