Government Bonds Correspondent
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Jan 26, 2015

Britain to ban fracking in national parks after policy u-turn

LONDON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Britain said on Monday it would
ban fracking in national parks, reversing a policy announced
last year, in a concession to the opposition Labour Party which
had called for tighter controls to be written into law.

“We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national
parks, sites of special interest and areas of natural beauty,”
said junior energy minister Amber Rudd during a debate on new
laws regulating the extraction process.

Jan 21, 2015

UK’s Iraq war inquiry report delay prompts “sexed down” fears

LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – New delays to a major report into
Britain’s role in the Iraq War sparked fears on Wednesday that
the public would conclude an inquiry’s long-awaited findings had
been “sexed down” to prevent criticism of former high-profile
figures.

The investigation, headed by former civil servant John
Chilcot, was set up six years ago by former prime minister
Gordon Brown to learn lessons from the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of
Iraq, which ousted Saddam Hussein, and its aftermath.

Jan 20, 2015

Ex-UK spy chief says accord needed with tech firms to stop terrorism

LONDON (Reuters) – Intelligence agencies and technology companies need to agree on data-sharing to keep attacks like those in Paris earlier this month from becoming commonplace, the former head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service said on Tuesday.

John Sawers, speaking in public for the first time since leaving the Secret Intelligence Service in November, said trust between governments and technology companies had been shattered and needed to be rebuilt.

Jan 18, 2015

Ex-spy chief says outdated UK anti-terrorism laws are not fit for purpose

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks is hampered by outdated laws that are “no longer fit for purpose”, a former MI5 chief said in an interview published on Sunday, as the government considers new powers to monitor the Internet.

Jonathan Evans, director-general of MI5 from 2007 to 2013, said laws should allow the intelligence services to properly monitor possible threats to national security.

Jan 14, 2015

UK’s Osborne says need to decide on sale of RBS stake soon after election

LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – British finance minister George
Osborne said he would need to decide quickly about a sale of the
government’s stake in the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland
after May’s election, adding he hoped to be able to
recover taxpayers’ money.

Osborne also gave more details of his plans to fix
Britain’s public finances, saying he would hand independent
budget forecasters the power to say when the government could
stray from running a surplus if the economy ran into trouble.

Jan 14, 2015

Britain rejects bid to force energy companies to pass on oil price drop

LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – British lawmakers on Wednesday
voted against giving energy regulators the power to force
utility firms to lower prices when wholesale costs fall,
rejecting a bid by the opposition Labour Party designed to win
over voters before an election in May.

Labour called the vote to try and shift the political debate
onto energy prices, an issue they have used successfully in the
past to show that voters’ living standards have fallen since
Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron won power in 2010.

Jan 13, 2015

UK parties agree post-election budget targets but debate rages on

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Britain’s two main political
parties committed to an ambitious set of fiscal targets on
Tuesday, but fierce disagreement over how they should be
interpreted and achieved laid bare their political attack lines
ahead of May’s national election.

The May 7 vote is likely to be one of the closest in a
generation and the future of Britain’s economy, namely how
aggressively the next government should set about reducing a
large budget deficit, may be one of its defining issues.

Dec 31, 2014

Left turn could cost UK’s Labour the 2015 election, says ex-PM Blair

LONDON (Reuters) – Ed Miliband, leader of Britain’s opposition, has damaged his chances of winning next May’s national election by steering his Labour party too far to the left, former Labour prime minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday.

The criticism from one of Labour’s most successful leaders highlights policy divisions within the party and doubts over Miliband’s ability to win a close-fought election race against Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.

Dec 30, 2014

Health worker with Ebola transferred to London hospital

LONDON (Reuters) – A health worker who was the first person diagnosed in Britain with Ebola arrived at a London hospital from Scotland early on Tuesday for treatment after contracting the disease in West Africa.

The woman arrived at the Royal Free hospital, Britain’s designated Ebola treatment center, in an ambulance accompanied by several police vehicles, a Reuters witness said.

Dec 18, 2014

Britain targets financial fraud with anti-corruption police unit

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Britain is to set up a specialist
police unit focused on corruption and bribery, aiming to bolster
its defences against white-collar crime in the financial sector
as part of a wider plan to stamp out fraudulent business
practices.

Banks and other financial players account for about a tenth
of the UK economy’s output but the sector has been damaged by a
succession of scandals, making it important for the government
to show it is clamping down on wrongdoing.