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"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.

Plans to scrap cheques dropped

Plans to scrap the use of cheques from 2018 were dropped today after the UK Payments Council admitted there was no better paper alternative.

MPs torpedo appointment to statistics watchdog

MPs have effectively vetoed the Government's choice as head of the UK Statistics Authority, the watchdog that oversees the work of the Office for National Statistics. Dame Janet Finch, a former vice-chancellor of Keele University, was recruited by the head of the civil service, Sir Gus O'Donnell, and her appointment was expected to be nodded through. However, after a bruising encounter with MPs on the powerful Public Accounts Committee, Dame Janet decided to withdrew her application, for fear that she was about to be rejected. MPs had questioned whether she would be a "stooge" for the Government.

David Prosser: A message to Britain's bankers: tell us what you really think

The problem is that if the banks’ submissions are published only alongside the final report on reform, it will be too late to challenge their assertions

Bank may start printing money again as fears for economy spread

The possibility of a further huge injection of money to underpin the economy will be discussed by policymakers at the Bank of England this week, pushing back until deep into next year the prospect of any rise in interest rates from their all-time low of 0.5 per cent.

Bankers told to own up to rip-offs and rebuild trust

Senior policymakers told the banks to put their house in order yesterday to restore public trust in their battered reputations. Top politicians and regulators told an audience of senior bankers to stop complaining and accept responsibility for reckless behaviour and ripping off customers.

Majority of older consumers still prefer to use cheques

Nearly three-quarters of people aged over 65 regularly use cheques, a new report from Age UK has found.

BIS tells Bank of England to overhaul governance

The Government should consider changing the remit and make-up of the Bank of England's court of directors so that it can oversee the new Financial Policy Committee (FPC), the Bank for International Settlements told MPs yesterday.

South West Trains to stop accepting cheques

One of the country's biggest rail companies is to stop accepting cheques from the end of this week, years before the target date for phasing them out across the whole economy.

David Prosser: Ring-fencing the banks may work in ways the Chancellor never intended

Outlook If George Osborne feels in need of support from bankers for his plan to make them ring-fence their retail assets, he need look no further than the most recent meeting of the Treasury Select Committee, where one prominent banking executive told MPs he was very much in favour of the policy.

Business Diary: Banks' timing is impeccable

Never let it be said that the banks do not have a sense of good timing. With the bosses of Barclays, RBS, Lloyds and HSBC up for a grilling at the Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday afternoon, it would not have been wise to give MPs any extra ammunition with which to beat them over the head. Is that why Lloyds and RBS waited until yesterday to announce hundreds more job cuts? And with Barclays having completed a smaller cull in the US on Wednesday night, should HSBC staff be nervous?

Business Diary: Wall Street goes on a trip

The latest Wall Street insider trading trail, in which the former trader Winifred Jiau faces securities fraud charges, is producing some wonderful vignettes of what these masters of the universe get up to in their spare time. Take Noah Freeman, one of the witnesses testifying against Jiau. He's just admitted to the court he once ended up wandering around San Francisco dressed only in his underpants after eating some magic mushrooms. Freeman gave a false name to the hospital where he ended up, fearing trouble from his employer – he was supposed to be at a hedge fund conference.

ICB says taxpayers' bank subsidy will top £10bn

The taxpayer subsidy to British banks is "considerably" more than £10bn, the Independent Commission on Banking told a Treasury Select Committee yesterday.

Bank under fire again – from its own veterans

As the Bank of England prepares to assume unprecedented economic powers, it is feeling the heat, reports Sean O'Grady

Call for u-turn on BBC funding cut

Senior MPs today lined up to call for the Government to reverse its decision to slash the BBC World Service's funding.

Lawyers back UK Uncut on taxes

Britain could slash its £30bn a year corporate tax avoidance industry in one swoop – and raise more money from higher tax revenues – if it switched to a principles-based approach rather than the present one of "legal certainty", according to the Queen's lawyers.

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Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

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The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
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Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

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The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable