News

"Extreme" allegations that Royal Bank of Scotland tipped viable businesses into bankruptcy were described as "plausible" because of its "flawed" structure by a former deputy governor of the Bank of England yesterday.

Even Tory MPs think the economy won't get better

Conservative MPs do not share George Osborne's optimism that the economy will pick up in the second half of this year, according to a new survey.

Anthony Hilton's Week: The tax-exile hedgies cowed into seeking a sneaky return

Leona Hemsley, a New York socialite of the 1980s, is today remembered for only one thing. When indicted and subsequently jailed for tax evasion, she was quoted as having said: "Only the little people pay taxes."

Chote defends OBR record

The Treasury failed to inform its own fiscal watchdog in advance about a key plank of the Autumn Statement, according to Robert Chote, the chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Chote made to defend OBR's forecasts

Head of Office for Budget Responsibility tells MPs that he was not informed about Chancellor's national infrastructure plan

MPs in cheque guarantee cards call

MPs kept up the pressure for the return of cheque guarantee cards today by suggesting that the Government could consider stepping in with legislation.

Osborne ready to overhaul Bank of England governance

The Chancellor has indicated that he is ready to overhaul governance of the Bank of England ahead of it gaining more powers over financial regulation.

Bank's Governor to face grilling over QE decision

Sir Mervyn King will be called to account before Parliament today for the decision of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to inject £75bn into the British economy at a time when inflation is running more than double the Bank of England's target.

Julian Knight: An accidental gap year could be just what students need

Thousands of students are going to find themselves taking what I call an "accidental gap year"; namely they were set to go to university but there was no place for them this year.

MPs criticise banks for attempting to scrap cheques

MPs are battling banks' plans to abolish cheques. A Treasury Select Committee has warned banks not to attempt to abandon cheques by stealth or deter customers from using cheques. It has also recommended that the Payments Council be brought under regulatory control to stop its "unfettered power to decide the future of cheques".

David Prosser: More cheques (and balances) required

Outlook When the Payments Council decided so few people use cheques these days that it could safely announce their abolition in a few years' time, it dropped an enormous clanger. The protests were so noisy that it was forced into aU-turn – and now the Treasury Select Committee wants to see its powers reined in.

Treasury committee demands overhaul of 'poor value' PFI

An influential committee of MPs launched a stinging attack on the private finance initiative (PFI) yesterday and claimed it offered taxpayers "poor value for money".

MPs set to question role of new City watchdog

Even before it has opened for business the new City regulator is to be investigated by MPs. Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, launched an inquiry into the remit and powers of the Financial Conduct Authority yesterday.

Conservatives fear Chancellor will not meet deficit target

Growing numbers of senior Conservatives are concerned about the ability of the Chancellor to deliver the Coalition's pledge of eliminating Britain's structural deficit by 2015.

Business Diary: Roubini's reports from foreign land

Nouriel Roubini, economics' "Dr Doom", missed out on the chance to pile on the misery following Standard & Poor's' downgrade of the US economy last week, on account of being on holiday.

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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 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project