Tony Pidgley: left home at the age of 15, barely able to read or write, bought a lorry and went into business for himself. Now Pidgley looks set to enter the City record books by sharing in one of the biggest- ever boardroom bonanzas – a bonus scheme by housebuilder Berkeley Group

London Briefing: Pidgley’s life story reads like a feel-good film script, but is the latest bonus scheme going too far?

George Osborne: accused by the opposition of a “cavalier” attitude towards taxpayers’ money. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Reuters

Disposal of £2.1bn of the bank’s shares marks the start of what will be the UK’s biggest ever privatisation

 Land Rover   manufacturing plant in Solihull, UK : Manufacturing in Britain shrank by 0.3 per cent in the second quarter, the sector’s worst performance since early 2013. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

New figures show that the GDP per head of population is at pre-crisis levels

M&S executive John Dixon: the  26-year M&S veteran was widely seen as a potential successor to chief executive Marc Bolland. He has quit to take on the role of chief executive at another company. Photograph:  M&S/PA Wire

Online white goods retailer AO World says expansion plans in Germany on track

 Tony Hayward: “I’m 58 years old and I want a slightly less full-on life.” Photograph: Reuters

Five years after Gulf of Mexico disaster, the former BP boss is causing controversy

Chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne: his second budget in four months and the first without having to worry about his Lib Dem coalition partners. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

At centre of budget statement will be £12bn in welfare cuts, details of which were noticeably absent in Tory election manifesto(...)

Thorntons has become something of a joke in the City for its repeated profit warnings, its failure to sell eggs at Easter or boxed chocolates at Christmas and its constant complaints about the weather being too hot or too cold – or sometimes both. Photograph: EPA

Purchase of struggling firm by Italian group widely welcomed

Chancellor George Osborne, never one to let some good data pass unremarked, yesterday welcomed what he called a “powerful mix” of low prices and rising wages

Call it deflation or negative inflation – falling prices result in frenzied headlines

HSBC  logo: firm is to eliminate up to 50,000 jobs by 2017 by shrinking its global reach as chief executive Stuart Gulliver seeks to cut annual costs by about $5 billion to restore profit growth. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Birmingham location of retail head office fuels speculation about rebadging

Morrisons is almost certain to be demoted from the prestigious FTSE 100 index following a near-15 per cent slide in its share price over the past 12 months. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

London Briefing: Potts meets shareholders with good and bad news for food retailer

Former Thomas Cook chief executive Harriet Green: due to collect a £10 million-plus bonus when her gardening leave comes to an end next month. Photograph: RLM Finsbury/PA Wire

Globetrotting executive tweets as anger mounts over deaths of children in Corfu

Marc Bolland has pushed through a number of much-needed changes at the retailer, including revamping the stores and improving its fashion ranges. Photograph: Getty Images

Too early to tell if Marc Bolland’s costly recovery plan finally working

Bank of England governor Mark Carney: expected to be questioned on what impact the new government’s austerity programme might have on the UK’s fragile economic recovery. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

London Briefing: Bank of England quarterly inflation report follows strong industrial output figures

Analysts expect Sainsbury’s to report its first loss in a decade after being hammered by hefty property writedowns

Bizarre case of Mike Coupe criminal conviction in Egyptian court – and two-year prison sentence – emerged out of the blue

David Cameron admitted the economy was performing in a “less exciting way”. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg/File photo

Prime minister put a brave face on Britain’s latest GDP data

Marks & Spencer:  while other retailers may struggle, shoppers have been clamouring for a 1970s-inspired beige suede skirt from its Limited Edition range. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The rag trade is subject to the whims of demand and margins can be low

British Gas stands accused of not passing on the full benefits of cheaper oil prices

Insurance veteran Mark Hodges appointed to tough high-profile job

The over-55s’ dilemma: Lamborghini or Caribbean cruise? Retirees now have access to their pension pots rather than forcing them to use the cash to buy an annuity

Rise of ‘granlords’ as retirees are given access to their entire pension pots

Pedestrians in  Oxford Street  on Tuesday. The prospect of the return of deflation after over 50 years had economists and journalists thumbing through the history books. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Official government figures show inflation slumped to zero

The 2015 inflation basket owes more than a little to the influence of the hipster – in come craft beer, ecigarettes, headphones and music subscription services such as Spotify.

Out go yoghurt drinks and sat navs and in come supplements and Spotify subscriptions

 John Lewis on Oxford Street,  London. Retail analyst Nick Bubb is forecasting an 8 per cent fall in pre-exceptional profits to around £350 million, reflecting a 20 per cent slump in operating profits at Waitrose.

Reduction reflects a fall in profits at the group, particularly in its food retail arm

Barclays’  chief executive  Antony Jenkins: “We have made very good progress. The bonus is recognition of that and I decided to accept it on this occasion.” Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Deciding ‘he’s worth it’ means a £1.1m bonus for chief executive at loss-making bank

António Horta-Osório, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group. He stands to collect a bonus of £7 million on Friday. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Long-suffering shareholders in Lloyds Banking Group expect a token dividend this Friday

HSBC maintained, in full page adverts taken out in papers at the weekend,  that its Swiss banking operations had been “completely overhauled”. Photograph: Harold Cunningham/Getty

Fallout from tax evasion activities of bank’s Swiss operations not abating

Analysts caution that the road to recovery at Tesco will be a long one

Impact of the supermarket’s new boss already being felt on bottom line

The BP chief warned it would be “a long time” before we saw $100 a barrel oil again

Oil giant has entered ‘challenging’ phase of low prices, warns chief executive

 Li Ka-shing: a week before his interest in O2 was revealed, his Hutchison Whampoa conglomerate added to its portfolio of UK holdings with a £2.5 billion takeover of Eversholt Rail.  Photograph: Alex Hofford/EPA

Consumers fear that fewer phone operators in UK will result in higher bills

Terry Leahy: stepped down as chief executive of Tesco three years ago after a glorious 14-year reign

Until now Terry Leahy had appeared happy to maintain a dignified silence on Tesco’s travails

Shares in the supermarket chain jumped more than 4 per cent after news of Dalton Philips’s departure, a brutal verdict from the City on the Irish man’s time at the top. Photograph: PA

Ousting of Irish man inevitable after worst performance among major British supermarket chains

Retailers are counting the cost of Black Friday as they survey the damage the discounts have done to their profit margins over the Christmas season. Photograph: Rob Stothard/Getty Images

London Briefing: Spending splurge dents Christmas profits

The Bank of England sign on the wall of its headquarters in London. A power cut at the bank added to the drama of banking stress tests yesterday

Bailed-out Bank of Scotland and Lloyds scrape through while inflation remains low

Tesco chief executive: Dave Lewis stunned investors by issuing the retailer’s fifth warning on profits this year. Photograph: Tesco/PA Wire

London Briefing: chief executive Dave Lewis declines to put timetable on recovery plan

 Tesco   chief executive hopes every little helps as he takes the reins and shakes up management. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Stocks of capable leaders look to be running low at the supermarket chain

The 800,000 sq ft Amazon  fulfilment centre   in Swansea, Wales. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Britain’s retailers are gearing up for their busiest-ever online shopping day at the end of this week with huge discounts on a wid(...)

Still Britain’s biggest retailer by market share, M&S’s performance over Christmas will clearly be key to how much longer Marc Bolland can hold on to his job at the group.

Weir not only woman seeking a top job with retailer

The Daily Mail front page from Monday

Irish food group Greencore raises the ire of Daily Mail by looking to hire Hungarian workers

A statue of Henry Royce stands outside the Rolls-Royce plant in Derby. The engineering group revealed plans to cut 2,600 jobs in its aerospace division, with the threat of more cuts to come.
Photograph: Reuters

But bad news at Rolls-Royce as it will lay off more than 2,500 employees

Lloyds: bill for mis-selling payment protection insurance pushed over £11 billion. Photograph: Peter MacDiarmid/Getty Images

Branches scheduled for closure represent almost 10 per cent of retail network

The Bank of England, which said the system it uses to transfer payments between commercial banks was affected by a technical outage. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

London Briefing: chaos in City as part of automated system crashes

British luxury handbag maker Mulberry cut its profit forecast for the third time this year. Photograph: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Accessories group hit by fall in demand for luxury goods and bad strategies

“Sclerotic, hopeless and downbeat” France was “finished”, John Lewis Partnership managing director Andy Street   told an audience of entrepreneurs in London. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

London Briefing: gaffe by shows chief executives should leave jokes to comedians

“Fifty Pence Challenge” poster had been intended to motivate staff but ended up displayed in the window of a Sainsbury’s store in east London.

Focus shifts from Tesco to Sainsbury’s as it updates the market

A Phones 4U shop in central London with its shutters down as more than 500 of its stores were shut after the retail chain went into administration. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA

Phones4U’s loss is the gain of other phone retailers but for how long?

Two women wave from a window on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Warnings of dire consequences have induced leaders to take action

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis: “The bit that is interesting is that that I have never run a shop in my life.” Photograph: EPA

Retailer’s new chief executive has battle ahead to get business ready for Christmas

Bank of England  governor  Mark Carney: has gone from rock-star banker to City’s ‘unreliable boyfriend’. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/PA Wire

London Briefing: Bank of England governor flip-flops on timing of higher rates

Tesco shares fell to a 10-year low last week as ratings agency S&P cut its credit rating from BBB+ to BBB.

Retailer’s incoming chief faces the stark possibility of cutting dividends

HSBC chairman Douglas Flint launched a tirade against the reforms being imposed on the banking sector. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

London Briefing: banks have much more to do before the time for remorse ends

Lloyds Banking Group has been hit with penalties totalling £226 million  for rate-rigging. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

A threat of jail would be better than an oath to ensure good conduct by bankers

Royal Mail shares yesterday tumbled more than 3 per cent on chief executive Moya Greene’s downbeat assessment of prospects for its crucial parcels business. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

London Briefing: disappointing trading update has taken glow off Royal Mail’s shares

Dublin’s Merrion Hotel is to be the setting for the latest shareholder revolt. Photograph: Alan Betson

Merrion Hotel will be arena for Irish-domiciled FTSE 100 company’s AGM

 Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland addresses the retailer’s AGM at Wembley stadium yesterday. Photograph:  Oliver Dixon/Imagewise/PA Wire

London Briefing: retailer’s board tackled by shareholders at agm in London stadium

Online grocery group Ocado is set to make its first annual profit since being set up by three former Goldman Sachs bankers in 2000.

Grocery price war take shine off earnings

Ross McEwan, chief executive officer RBS,  will take the flak over bankers’ bonuses  at the annual meeting. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

It’s time to look at how much bosses get and whether they are worth it

TopShop retail billionaire Philip Green, backer of MySale Group. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

London Briefing: many newly floated companies are trading below their IPO prices

Mike Ashley founded Sports Direct in 1982 and has built it into Britain’s biggest and most successful sports retailing chain. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Shareholders due to decide on proposals in July

London mayor Boris Johnson: always defended  Barclays bicycle sponsorship deal. Photograph: Ben A Pruchnie/Getty Images

London Briefing: Barclays link with bike scheme was dogged by accusations of stitch-up

People walk past a sign outside of a branch of TSB bank in London. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

Lloyds Banking Group to confirm Trustee Savings Bank to be spun off

British pharma group may have seen off Pfizer but unsettled investors will require delivery on challenging targets it set itself (...)

Ian Read, chairman and chief executive of Pfizer leaves Portcullis House after attending a parliamentary business and enterprise committee hearing on the possible takeover of AstraZeneca, in London.

Westminster not happy with Ian Reid’s pledges on takeover of AstraZeneca

The furore created by Pfizer’s  £63 billion (€77 billion) bid for AstraZeneca  neared fever pitch yesterday. Photographer: Bloomberg

Everyone from union officials to London’s mayor has an opinion on the offer

 Hugh “Skip” McGee: one of Barclay’s highest paid employees last year.

Hugh ‘Skip’ McGee’s departure comes amid a furore over bonuses at the bank

AstraZeneca shares surged by 8 per cent at one stage amid frenzied speculation that US rival Pfizer was preparing a mega-bid. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

London Briefing: major drug shares in UK soar on talk of mergers, acquisitions and asset swaps

 Barclays headquarters in Canary Wharf, London. The bank can expect a rough ride at its meeting next week after paying out £2.4 billion in bonuses last year.   Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Barclays Bank faces bonus backlash while Tesco reports second year of decline

It’s far from clear what Mike Ashley’s plans are for the 11 per cent stake he now owns in House of Fraser

Boss of UK’s biggest sports retailer often says one thing and then does another

Martin Wheatley, head of the Financial Conduct Authority, has admitted it was “not the FCA’s finest hour” but is resisting calls for his resignation. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

London briefing: Martin Wheatley is under fire over the handling of a leak of an insurance inquiry

Britain’s J Sainsbury has ended a nine-year run of quarterly sales growth.

Bank of England bucks trend with appointment of Nemat Shafik as deputy to governor Mark Carney

Euan Sutherland: said one or more directors were “determined to undermine me personally” as Co-operative Group chief executive. Photograph: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Euan Sutherland describes organisation as ‘ungovernable’

Thus a £1.5 million London apartment today (which compares with an average UK price of £250,000) will have climbed to over £6 million by 2030

With 9 per cent annual rises, plush pads will go through the roof by 2050

Dixons is discussing a deal  with Carphone Warehouse that would create a new £3.5 billion force in the electrical retailing sector.

Dixons in talks with Carphone Warehouse

  The Co-op, which can trace its roots back to 1844, has long-standing political links with the Co-operative Party, which has been affiliated to the opposition Labour Party since the 1920s. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA

Some fear venerable British institution has lost its way

Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins Antony Jenkins justified the bonuses by insisting the bank had to pay top dollar to attract and retain the best staff.

With profits down, Barclays has few supporters for its boosted bonuses

Discount retailers are well represented in the dozen of British retailers lining up IPOs in coming months. For Poundland, the price tag is put at about £800 million.Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/ Bloomberg via Getty Images

More than a dozen British retailers are set to list on the London stock market

Business secretary Vince Cable: “The US subprime mortgage crisis and its British equivalent were built on the shaky foundations of encouraging mass home purchase in inflating markets, and we know where that led. It must not happen again,” he warned.  Photograph: PA

Minister’s remarks at odds with Cameron’s welcome for strong growth

As yet another investigation is launched into the plight of the Co-operative Bank, a new round of the blame game was played out in Westminster yesterday. Photograph: Bloomberg

A record 3.35 million 20-34 year olds in UK still live at home, research shows

 Debenhams on Oxford Street:   Sports Direct International has bought almost 5 per cent  of shares  in Britain’s second-largest department stores chain. Photograph:  Yui Mok/PA Wire

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s plans for department stores are unclear

Former Co-operative Bank chairman Reverend Paul Flowers.  Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), insisted he had not made a mistake approving the appointment of the disgraced Flowers. Photograph: PA Wire

Clive Adamson refused to say appointment of Paul Flowers as Co-op Bank chairman was a mistake

Debenhams said it was seeking the “contribution” because of the mutual benefits its suppliers will reap from the store group’s growth. Photograph: Getty

A week is a long time in retail, so it’s too early to say who the losers will be

 Angela Ahrendts, chief executive officer of Burberry Group, and one of only four women chief executives on the FTSE, is on her way to Apple.   Photograph: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

What does it mean now there are more women heading FTSE 100 firms?

An employee walks past a stacker as it loads crushed iron ore at a processing facility in the Solomon mining hub in Western Australia. The mining industry, along with mining-related activities, accounts for almost 20 per cent of Australian GDP, and 10 per cent of employment. Photograph: Sergio Dionisio/Bloomberg

With the mining boom coming to an end and growth slowing in China, prime minister Tony Abbott faces his biggest test

After millions of customers were denied access to their money on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Royal Bank of Scotland took to Twitter on Monday with a series of apologetic tweets. Photograph: Johnny Green/PA Wire

Analysts reckon the bank needs to spend over £1bn on updating creaking technology

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England intervened  in to the row over Royal Bank of Scotland’s alleged brutal treatment of its small-business customers. Photograph: Bloomberg

Bank of England chief says allegations ‘deeply troubling and extremely serious’

Former RBS chief executive Fred Goodwin: big energy companies were warned they were facing a “Fred the Shred” moment

Energy companies warned they face showdown similar to that of ‘Fred the Shred’

Marks & Spencer posted a ninth straight quarterly fall in clothing sales yesterday. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Latest results reveal a stark difference in the performance of the two retailers

Willie Walsh: claimed trade with China has been harmed by the restrictive visa regime in Britain. Photograph: Alan Betson

IAG chief takes aim at British government and Heathrow bosses

Britain’s chancellor George Osborne and Lloyds Banking Group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio address staff at a Lloyds Contact Centre in Birmingham, after discussing the sale of a 6 per cent stake in the banking group. Photograph: Joe Giddens/Reuters

Osborne hails sale of 6% stake as a sign that UK economy has turned a corner

Sir Winston Churchill, who may feature on a new British fiver.

New banknotes to go on tour in UK

 Of the £84 billion being received by the British mobile phone company, its shareholders are to get £54 billion, via a mix of cash in the form of a special dividend and Verizon shares.  Photograph: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

Strident Hodge on shaky ground as she was minister in Labour government that provided loophole

There is still cross-party support among politicians for the HS2 scheme and the government continues to defend it vigorously

Growing criticism of British government’s plans for high-speed rail network that will carry passengers at 400kph

Mark Carney is six weeks into his job at Threadneedle Street, and the British media’s love affair with him shows no signs of waning. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The new Bank of England governor is even celebrated as a style icon

A Sports Direct shop at the Speke Retail Park, Liverpool. The use of zero hours contracts has been growing in recent years but the numbers involved have been vastly underestimated. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Plaudits over Sports Direct staff bonus plan undone by zero hours contract row

Barclays is trying to plug a larger-than-expected capital shortfall. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Barclays has bowed to the authorities and hit shareholders with a cash call

Swiss commodity giant Glencore’s chairman Simon Murray. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Gulf Keystone chairman Simon Murray has failed to appease institutions

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland yesterday reported the retailer’s eighth consecutive decline in general merchandise sales, largely clothing but also taking in home and footwear. Photograph: Adrian Brooks/Imagewise/PA Wire

The next six months will be crucial for the beleaguered retailer and its chief

The controversial payday lending industry was the subject of a government-led summit on Monday, hosted by consumer minister Jo Swinson. Photograph:  Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

London briefing: Is a clampdown on high-interest ‘legalised loan sharks’ in sight?

Incoming governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney  is bringing Bank of Canada’s chief spokesman to London with him, in a two-year secondment that could signal a more open style of communications under his leadership. Photograph: Reuters/Michael Buholzer

London Briefing: incoming head of British central bank starts by appointing new number two

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD in January at Government Buildings, Dublin. The investment has been made via his charitable fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

London Briefing: The vote of confidence from the Gates foundation is welcome news for new G4S chief Ashley Almanza as he sets abou(...)

 George Osborne: has had his share of criticism. Photograph: PA

First-time buyers already spending 50% of take home pay on mortgages despite record low rates, says economist

As a mutual organisation, owned by its members and managed for their benefit, the Co-operative is supposed to be different from other banks.

The Co-op bank was known for prudence – until word came of its £1.8bn deficit

Marks & Spencer. Its sales have been falling for the past two years and chief executive Marc Bolland is pinning his hopes for a revival on these new clothing ranges, the first full collection his new fashion team has put together.

Marc Bolland’s team show off latest template for wooing Middle Eangland

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