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Britons face rising price pain

Fiona Shaikh is Reuters’ Economic Correspondent, based in London. –

BRITAIN/Stubbornly high inflation has proved something of an inconvenience for the Bank of England over the last year, but the unrelenting rise in prices is turning out to be a real headache for ordinary Britons — one which is likely to get worse before it gets any better.

Consumer price inflation — the headline measure targeted by the central bank — accelerated to 4 percent last month, the  highest in more than two years and double the BoE’s target.

A great deal of the rise will have been down to the 2-1/2 percentage point rise in value added tax at the start of this year — a one-off move that will drop out of the statistics next year and mechanically bring headline inflation back down again.

Is Barclays paying its bankers too much?

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A Barclays sign is seen outside a branch of Barclays bank, in central London in this file picture. REUTERS/Toby Melville  

Barclays top-two — Chief Executive John Varley and President Bob Diamond — declined their 2009 bonus for the second year in a row, although the bank is paying the 23,000 staff at its investment bank £191,000 per head on average. The bank had a record year, but said all bonuses to its Executive Committee would be deferred, as it reacts to widespread criticism on bankers’ pay.

Have your say. Take our poll and leave us a comment.

Do you think Bob Diamond and John Varley did the right thing in declining their bonuses?

Who do you blame for the credit crisis?

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Bankers, politicians and regulators have taken their share of the blame for the credit crisis.

Gary Jenkins, Head of Fixed Income Research at Evolution Securities, polled about 200 investors for a more specific view on who was at fault.

Is RBS chief Stephen Hester worth £9.6m?

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As chief executive for a company that is 70 percent owned by the government, a 9.6 million pounds pay package is quite a tidy sum.

It is a package that makes Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester almost as well as paid as the Real Madrid-bound Cristiano Ronaldo.

Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension climbdown

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Former Royal Bank of Scotland chief Sir Fred Goodwin has agreed to more than halve his widely criticised 703,000-pound pension award.

He will now only receive an annual payout of 342,000 pounds.

Chairman Philip Hampton said: “I am pleased that common sense has now prevailed and I hope that most reasonable people will welcome that.”

Could Goodwin learn from Profumo?

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Treasury Minister Paul Myners was fulminating against Sir Fred Goodwin’s 700,000-pound pension in parliament this week when he made an intriguing suggestion.

“I still hope there’s the opportunity for Sir Fred to do the right thing and either return some of his pension or make a very substantial and long-term commitment to charity both of money and of his undoubted energy and resources,” he told a committee.

Can you train a teacher in six months?

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As the recession closes one door for bankers, another quickly opens.

The government’s latest educational wheeze is to allow teachers to qualify in just six months, half the current one-year time period.

Schools Minister Jim Knight wants to attract “more outstanding people” to the profession and hopes the scheme could help those such as bankers, who were excellent mathematicians and had been made unemployed, switch careers.

What should be done about ex-RBS chief’s pension pot?

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Former Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Executive Fred Goodwin is not having a good year.

Earlier this month he was hauled before parliament to explain his part in how RBS, the company he led for nine years, came close to the brink of collapse.

from Global Investing:

On Bankers and Busing

Bankers are having a rough time of it lately.  It is not just that their companies are collapsing beneath them and their bonuses are the subject of global hate and derision. They also have to put up with the barbs of journalists (who are very familiar with being at the bottom of the popularity pile).

The latest example comes from Tim Dowling, scribbling away for Britain's Guardian newspaper.  Mr Dowling has penned a useful primer for bankers who suddenly find themselves living in the real world.

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