"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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