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    ALEX BRUMMER: Whitehall must deliver on a Carillion probe and thwart Corbynista plans for re-nationalisation

    There is no room for complacency about the impact of the Carillion implosion on private sector involvement in government projects and the reputation of the City.Among those paying the heaviest price will be the 30,000 smaller firms and their employees who face ruin because of the catastrophic management of Carillion and bungling oversight in Whitehall.These firms are the bedrock of our free enterprise economy and it is their energy and resilience which enabled Britain to bounce back quickly from the financial crisis.Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects have been far from ideal as a National Audit Office report indicated this week. ...

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    CITY DIARY: Corbyn and the £110m Persimmon boss in the firing line as Lord Digby Jones takes to Twitter

    Twitter rant: Former CBI director general Lord (Digby) JonesFormer CBI director general Lord (Digby) Jones took to Twitter to rage against Persimmon boss Jeff Fairburn's £110million payday, urging him to give it to charity: 'What do you want to be Jeff? The richest guy in the graveyard? Sort it!' He then launched an attack on Jeremy Corbyn's refusal to condemn the recent behaviour of Iran's regime. A friend remarks: 'Digby's always at his best after a good lunch.'Scraggly Ineos founder Jim Ratcliffe's classical vocab is rubbished in this month's Oldie magazine after he claimed his company's name is from the Latin ...

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    NEIL CRAVEN: I predict 2018 will be a watershed moment for the high street

    My prediction for the coming year: the next 12 months will be a watershed moment for the high street. In fact, that moment may already be here.Its arrival has been slow but painfully inevitable. Most of the saurian beasts that inhabit the retail sector went into – and came out of – the economic crisis in 2009 with one big idea. More shops.As online retail surged, many retail boardrooms acted as though life would eventually just get back to normal.Shopping is, after all, the nation’s favourite pastime and shops is what we’re good at. The problem is neither of those ...

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    ALEX BRUMMER: Bumper boardroom pay is fool's gold - FTSE 100 bosses are serial under-achievers for investors

    Efforts by Britain to stamp out rampaging pay in the boardroom date back to the report by the late Marks & Spencer chief Sir Richard Greenbury in 1995.But in spite of years of governance reforms, compulsory votes on remuneration reports at annual meetings and mounting public anger over the rapacious behaviour of FTSE 100 chieftains, abuse goes on.The ratio of chief executive pay in Britain – at 94 times the average employee – outstrips our Continental competitors, according to research done by the Vlerick Business School in Belgium.  Overpaid: Compared with other stock markets around the world, FTSE 100 bosses ...

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    CITY DIARY: Race to succeed ex-BP chief Lord Browne as chairman of the Tate heats up

    PR fixer Roland Rudd is very keen to become the next Tate chairmanThe jostling to succeed ex-BP chief Lord Browne as chairman of the Tate provides welcome intrigue.Fingers-in-every-pie PR fixer Roland Rudd, 56, is mustard keen but worries that interim chairman, Financial Times editor Lionel Barber, could scupper him. Relations between them while colleagues at the FT were not warm, and Barber might fancy the position himself. Meanwhile, the careful consideration being given to dainty Royal Mail boss Moya Greene's credentials threatens to leave both accomplished poseurs disappointed. Barclays' announcement that it will take a £1billion hit from Donald Trump's tax reforms ...

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    ALEX BRUMMER: Britain's narrative of hope is ignored by those determined to prove Brexit a disaster

    Anyone visiting from Mars over the Christmas break might have pondered on what a ghastly place Britain has become, and want to head straight back to the red planet.The headlines have screamed of homelessness, people sleeping on the streets, the mendacity of blue passports and how NHS waiting rooms are crammed with lower-income Britons.Certainly, there are great inequalities that shame our society. If Jeff Fairburn, the fat cat boss at housebuilder Persimmon who is set for a £130million pay cheque, and his colleagues were to donate their bonuses to housing charities there would be no excuse for anyone to sleep ...

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    ALEX BRUMMER: Rivals reach for the Sky - but what has Disney in mind for Murdoch's most precious asset?

    The battle for the future of Sky is far from over. Of all the assets that 21st Century Fox has sold to Walt Disney, the most precious to Rupert Murdoch was the British satellite broadcaster.Over the decades, the Murdoch dynasty invested heavily in building Sky’s technology, buying in the best sports content and building its own entertainment studios.But in the end it became something of a deal breaker, with Disney boss Bob Iger insisting that Fox’s 39 per cent stake in Sky be part of the deal because it wanted its distribution across Europe and the streaming capacity it has ...

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    BIG SHOT OF THE WEEK: JP Morgan chairman, president and chief exec Jamie Dimon is the undisputed King of Wall Street

     Banking royalty: : £20million-a-year JP Morgan boss Jamie DimonShould there have been any confirmation needed of Jamie Dimon's status at the pinnacle of America's banking elite, it came during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2009 between President Obama and Citibank chairman Richard Parsons.As Parsons began schooling the president on banking minutiae, Obama wearily held up his hand and sighed: 'I'll talk to Jamie.'The £20million-a-year JP Morgan boss – he holds the Napoleonesque title of chairman, president and chief executive – is Washington's go-to banker. Twice during the financial crisis the government needed him to rescue struggling banks (Bear ...

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    ALEX BRUMMER: Rupert Murdoch hogs centre stage as Disney deal goes down

    Any thought that Rupert Murdoch will be retreating to his Bel-Air estate after 21st Century Fox’s landmark £39billion sale of valuable entertainment assets to Walt Disney has been disabused.Sounding as enthusiastic as ever about continued ownership of Fox News and its sports rights, the 86-year-old curmudgeon made it clear he would be continuing to run New Fox, alongside son Lachlan, and it would be using the company’s £7.5billion of cash flows to expand its footprint in core news and sports broadcasting.Indeed, listening to the Aussie mogul on the call to investors, it almost sounded as if he retained a proprietorial ...

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    CITY DIARY: Ex-General Electric boss flew around the world with a spare private jet in tow

    Two jets: Former General Electric boss Jeff ImmeltGeneral Electric is investigating former boss Jeff Immelt after it emerged that during his 17-year tenure he traversed the globe with a spare private jet in tow. The saga is providing plenty of laughs on Wall Street, if not with shareholders, though is sadly indicative of the once-mighty firm's rapid decline. It was once ranked as the fourth-largest company in the world. Incidentally, silver fox Immelt, 61, is gracious enough to acknowledge that the two-plane arrangement was 'a terrible idea'.Businessman Robin Birley, whose Mayfair haunt, 5 Hertford Street, is a mecca for City types, ...

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    CITY DIARY: Peston and Mandelson enjoy a Christmas drink with advertising boss

    Drinky poos: Advertising boss Johnny HornbyBoyish advertising boss Johnny Hornby, 50, hosted his Christmas drinks in Mayfair's chi-chi Mark's Club this week, where guests included rough diamond Crystal Palace owner Steve Parish, 52, reality TV Z-lister Trinny Woodall, 53, and ITV flibbertigibbet Robert Peston, 57. Also in attendance, posing for selfies: Lord Mandelson, 64, who as first secretary was once accustomed to schmoozing with world leaders and FTSE 100 bosses. Suddenly, I'm reminded of poet Ernest Dowson's haunting line: 'They are not long, the days of wine and roses…' Standard Chartered's £3.4million-a-year boss Bill Winters, 56, whinges to the BBC about Brexit, ...

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    SIMON LAMBERT: Forget 'millennial railcard' gimmicks, here's an easy way to ease the pain of commuters paying £4,000 a year to get the train to work

    It was like taking a butter knife to a gunfight.Britain’s long-suffering commuters have a problem with sky-high train fares, so what did the Government deliver? An extension of what used to be called the Young Person’s railcard up to the age of 30 from the current 26.What was so disappointing is there is a simple solution that could at least ease the pain of people paying thousands of pounds a year to get to work – officially allow people to salary sacrifice their season tickets.They could then pay out of untaxed income – saving them a meaningful sum of money. ...

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    RUTH SUNDERLAND: Chancellor didn't say that we may still be living in austerity Britain but there is no shortage of money to invest

    What Chancellors don’t say in their Budgets is always at least as illuminating as the measures they trumpet. It tells us which subjects they would rather sweep under the carpet and whose interests they think can be sacrificed without too much electoral damage.On the latter point, there was a deafening silence for savers. Perhaps Philip Hammond feels anyone with anything left over to squirrel away is low on the list of priorities. Yet with inflation at 3 per cent, doing nothing for savers amounts to a cut in returns in real terms, as my colleagues point out in our personal ...

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    CITY DIARY: Glencore boss Tony Hayward ambushed by Greenpeace at university interview

    Environmental woes: Glencore chairman Tony HaywardGlencore chairman Tony Hayward, formerly of BP, must regret agreeing to an interview with the University of West England's student magazine. Thinking he was to be quizzed about renewable energy, he found himself ambushed about Glencore's appearance in the recent Paradise Papers. 'This isn't what we agreed to talk about,' he groans. Shouldn't muntjac-in-the-headlights Hayward avoid all media, even student rags? His handling of the infamous BP oil spill remains a case study in how not to handle a crisis.Pensions expert Baroness Altmann tweets: 'Interesting experience on way to Glasgow. Put things through security including shoes. ...

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    ALEX BRUMMER: Damaging brawl at the LSE can only be succour for the City's rivals

    The brawl at the London Stock Exchange is an unedifying spectacle. As a pillar of the City of London, the exchange is meant to be an exemplar of good governance. It is also immensely important to Britain's prosperity as we move towards Brexit. Its crown jewel LCH Clearnet transacts and settles derivatives deals from across Europe and the globe.At a moment when the Aramco float plans are being prepared by Saudi Arabia, the chaos at the top of the LSE can only be succour for the City's rivals.There should be no confusion about the cause of this mess. It may have ...

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