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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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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss