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.

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.

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".

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
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
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
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