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The gross payouts will be £2.25bn less in 2014 than in 2013

£30m loss for PC World owner

The owner of Currys and PC World today continued a grim week for the high street's biggest names after plunging almost £30 million into the red.

VAT: Conservatives will vote against rate cut

Conservatives last night vowed to vote against Alistair Darling's plans for a 2.5 per cent temporary cut in VAT, as ministers faced claims that the centrepiece of the pre-Budget report would not do enough to kick-start Britain's weakening economy.

Credit insurers face huge rise in premiums

With more suppliers set to claim for bad debts, the cost of reinsuring risk could soar by over 10 per cent

Comet's credit insurance cut back as crisis spreads

Coface reduces insurance cover to some suppliers

BBC presenter thought Queen Mother was a 'bigot'

The Queen Mother once labelled some of Britain's EU colleagues as "Huns, wops and dagos", a BBC broadcaster has said.

High street worries grow as sales slump at John Lewis

Retailing hit as consumer slowdown gathers pace

Frugal shoppers trim spending on food

DSGi and Sports Direct also feel effects of downturn

Sony cuts profit forecast because of strong yen

Sony fuelled fears of a global recession yesterday as it issued a profits warning and warned it had been badly hit by the strength of the yen and plunging demand for flat-screen televisions and digital cameras.

Currys owner scales back investment

Consumer electronics giant DSG today said it planned to cut capital expenditure by around £30m this year as part of efforts to deal with deteriorating consumer confidence across Europe.

Short-sellers turn on pubs and retailers

Short-sellers barred from betting against financial services companies have instead stepped up their targeting of the UK's biggest pub companies and retailers as they try to cash in on the deteriorating consumer outlook.

Retailers braced for a tough Christmas

More retailers released dire trading figures yesterday, reinforcing fears that the sector is heading for its worst Christmas in 30 years.

DSGi trumpets its cost savings amid retail gloom

DSGi unveiled dire trading at its Currys and PC World stores in the UK yesterday, and revealed that it does not expect trading conditions to improve until 2010.

DSG cautious on consumer outlook

European electrical goods retailer DSG International Plc said it did not expect its markets to recover before 2010 as it posted a drop in first-quarter underlying sales and profit margins and pledged to cut more costs.

Sam Warner: Once trusted and admired, Glitter is all the more reviled

The intense public interest in the former pop star's behaviour reflects deeper concerns about how a child sex offender could inveigle his way into our affections, and highlights the need to prevent such criminals from fleeing abroad to find fresh victims

Deborah Orr: The real scandal of Gary Glitter

It is estimated that worldwide, 1 million children are vulnerable to abuse by sexual tourists
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Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
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Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
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Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
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An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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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
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own