News

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'
Career Services

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
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015