British Gas is to put up gas and electricity bills by almost 10 per cent next month, adding £123 to the average annual dual-fuel bill. The company, which said it "understands the frustration" felt by its customers, blamed the price rise on the cost of energy on the global markets and government-imposed green levies.
US DEBT CRISIS OVER AFTER BILL IS PASSED
With just hours to go before the deadline, the US Congress last night passed a bill to reopen the government and raise the debt limit. Both the Senate and House of Representatives agreed the bill, funding the government until February. President Obama said: "We've got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis”.
CHINA CAN INVEST IN UK NUCLEAR PLANTS
Chinese companies will be allowed to take controlling stakes in Britain’s new nuclear power plants under a deal announced this morning by Chancellor George Osborne. BBC business editor Robert Peston says the first deal could be struck as early as next week, with Chinese companies taking a share with EDF in the Hinkley Point C project.
CHARLES: FEARS FOR FUTURE PENSIONERS
The Prince of Wales has accused the pensions industry of short-termism, saying he fears the next generation of pensioners will be “consigned to an exceptionally miserable future” if the industry does not reform. In an unusual intervention, he told an industry dinner in Manchester that a focus on quarterly capitalism is “increasingly unfit for purpose”.
SAVILE HAD POLICE ‘IN PALM OF HIS HAND’
A police officer who once came across Jimmy Savile with a teenage girl in a layby has said there “wasn’t a copper in Leeds who didn’t know he was a pervert”. He said it was common knowledge that Savile “liked them young” but his influence meant officers were too scared to confront him, with the police “in the palm of his hand”.
MUSLIM FREE SCHOOL ‘DYSFUNCTIONAL’
Ofsted has criticised a Muslim free school in Derby as “dysfunctional” and chaotic, saying it hired teachers with no experience and was lacking even the “basic systems” needed to run a school. The report on the Al-Madinah school, leaked to The Guardian, followed reports that all teachers at the school had been forced to cover their heads.
LABOUR: WE’LL TAX PAYDAY LENDERS
Labour leader Ed Miliband is proposing a levy on the profits of payday lenders, saying government “must protect the most vulnerable people in our society from the worst of exploitation”. The money would be used to support credit unions and those with debt problems. The payday loan market has doubled in size in the last four years.
MET POLICE ASKED TO PROBE SPY LEAKS
A Tory MP has asked Scotland Yard to investigate whether The Guardian broke the Official Secrets Act by apparently sending intelligence documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden around the world. Julian Smith MP questions whether, by distributing the information, the paper went “beyond journalism”.
‘GREAT ESCAPE’ POW DIES AT 91
One of the last remaining survivors of an audacious plot to escape from a Nazi prison camp - an exploit immortalised in the film The Great Escape - has died. RAF gunner Frank Stone helped dispose of soil from the tunnel, but did not have time to join the escape before the plot was detected. He died aged 91.
HOT TICKET: TORI AMOS FAIRYTALE
Singer-songwriter Tori Amos's new musical, The Light Princess, has opened at the National Theatre. In the fairytale story, a grief-stricken princess starts to float away from the world until her love for a mourning prince brings her down to earth. "Magical," says The Independent. Until 9 January.