News

Goldman Sachs’ private equity arm is set to announce a £150m investment in insurance group Hastings Direct that will leave chairman Neil Utley cashing in tens of millions of pounds from the business he turned around after buying it in 2008.

Rock readies for sale despite losses of £232m

Northern Rock's executive chairman stoked expectations of an imminent move out of public ownership yesterday when he said the bank did not need to make a profit before returning to the private sector.

Northern Rock 'on road to recovery'

Northern Rock insisted today that it was on the road to recovery despite posting an annual loss as it prepares itself for private ownership.

Business diary: Northern Rock tells it like it is

One has to hand it to Northern Rock: it really doesn't miss a trick. After commissioning what it describes as "extensive research", the bank is launching a new brand campaign, to be headlined "Northern Rock. Works for Me." Isn't that simply a statement of the obvious? Having been forced to dip into our pockets to save Rock from collapse three years ago, this is one of several banks that works for us all – in theory, at least. After all, as taxpayers, we own the bank and employ its staff.

James Moore: Cheaper options would help people quit loans habit

Those who defend companies such as Provident Financial make two points: that their clients are broadly satisfied with their service (Provident puts the figure at 95 per cent), and that the alternatives are dire. By the latter, they mean the loan shark who will break your legs when you can't pay up, rather than just your heart when the bailiffs knock on the door.

Starting gun fired on Northern Rock sale

Northern Rock's return to the private sector was kick-started yesterday as UK Financial Investments, the body that represents taxpayers' interests in the banking sector, invited bankers to pitch for a mandate to work on "strategic options".

The business on...Gary Hoffman, Chief executive, Northern Rock

Was the fuss about his £500,000 really fair then?

It's true that Mr Hoffman was going to be paid £500,000 in salary, pension and benefits for doing, well, nothing, and that £500,000 came from the taxpayer because Northern Rock is state-owned.

Anger over Rock boss's £500,000 'to do nothing'

Unions described the decision by state-owned Northern Rock to hand chief executive Gary Hoffman £500,000 in pay, pension and other benefits for doing nothing for six months as a "punch in the stomach" yesterday.

Northern Rock boss Gary Hoffman steps down

Nationalised bank Northern Rock today confirmed Gary Hoffman has stepped down as chief executive with immediate effect.

Last Night's TV: Wonderland - High Society Brides/BBC2<br/>A History of the World/BBC4

Judging from the title alone it looked as if High Society Brides was going to be the month's least tactful bit of scheduling. During the day we'd learned that the entire nation was about to go on a bread-and-dripping diet and in the evening it seemed we would be able to cheer ourselves up by watching the upper crust uniting their inherited wealth in the holy bond of matrimony. And, judging from the opening five minutes, it looked as if judging from the title hadn't been entirely misleading. Various women with cut-glass accents recalled when they first met their husband ("Shooting... grouse moor in Yorkshire") or exchanged emollient truisms about wealth. "Money can be a lubricant I think, can't it?" said one musingly. "Mmmm... yes... opens doors," replied another. Oh dear, I'm not going to be able to take a lot of this, I thought. Not when so many people are going to be finding the lubricant in short supply.

Rock repays &#163;1bn more to taxpayers

The group formed from Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley's toxic loans has paid back another £1bn in taxpayer cash this year after ramping up its debt repayments.

Northern Rock pays back another £1bn

The group formed from Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley's toxic loans has paid back another £1 billion in taxpayer cash this year after ramping up its debt repayments.

Album: Manic Street Preachers, Postcards from a Young Man (Columbia)

There are two distinct strains of Manic Street Preachers album: the grandiose agit-rock ones designed to force-feed arena crowds the sorts of philosophical ruminations they won't encounter at school; and the more hermetic, astringent exercises like The Holy Bible.

100,000 finance jobs lost since Northern Rock crisis

Around 100,000 finance jobs have been lost since the start of the banking crisis three years ago and there are fears of further "significant" cuts ahead, according to a new report today.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee