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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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence