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Britain's state borrowing rises in February

British state borrowing worsened in February, official data showed Friday, but the government remains on track to meet the new deficit target unveiled earlier this week. Public sector net borrowing, the government's preferred measure of the deficit, rose to £9.3 billion ($15.3 billion, 11.1 billion euros) in February. That compared with £6.5 billion in the same month of 2013, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement. Market expectations had been for borrowing of about £8.8 billion.

British budget to draw election battle lines

Britain's finance minister George Osborne will on Wednesday unveil the government's latest budget, drawing battle lines 14 months ahead of a general election, with tax benefits set to offset austerity. In a boost for Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne ahead of the 1230 GMT statement, official data showed that British unemployment is falling and the number of people in work has struck a record high.

Barclays awards top managers $53 million in shares

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Barclays <BARC.L> has given its top dozen executives nearly 32 million pounds ($53 million) in share awards, 20 percent lower than a year ago, partly due to a drop in its stock price. The British bank has faced a wave of shareholder criticism over its decision to raise bonuses last year despite a fall in profits and is under pressure to cut costs at its investment bank, which is the subject of a third strategic review in as many years.

Barclays cuts share awards to top bosses by 20 percent

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Barclays <BARC.L> has given its top dozen executives nearly 32 million pounds in share awards, 20 percent lower than a year ago, partly due to a drop in its stock price. The British bank has faced a wave of shareholder criticism over its decision to raise bonuses last year despite a fall in profits and is under pressure to cut costs at its investment bank, which is the subject of a third strategic review in as many years.

Retail success at John Lewis means staff bonus for all

Far from the astronomical incentives accorded to a select few at Britain's banks, clothes-to-food retailer John Lewis Partnership is paying all its staff an annual bonus worth 15 percent of their salaries, earning praise for its co-operative structure. From the chief executive right down to shop assistants at the group's high-end supermarket Waitrose and department store chain John Lewis, workers will share a bonus pot totalling £202.5 million ($336 million, 242 million euros) for 2013.

UK grocer Morrisons' profit warning prompts price war fears

By James Davey LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Wm Morrison Supermarkets <MRW.L> sparked fears of an industry price war on Thursday after it posted its lowest profit for five years and said it would invest 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) in price cuts over three years to win back customers.

Ocado sees opportunities from Amazon move into groceries

By Emma Thomasson LONDON (Reuters) - British online grocer Ocado sees Amazon's push to sell more groceries as more of an opportunity than a threat, believing it will encourage big international retailers to look for partners to help them get set up in e-commerce. "What Amazon is clearly doing is awakening the global grocers to the online challenge they are going to face and they are accelerating the opportunities for us as a platform partner provider," Ocado Chief Executive Tim Steiner said on Thursday.

British economy set to be fastest growing among G7

By Jonathan Cable LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's economy will grow faster than any other G7 nation in coming quarters, but the Bank of England will not raise interest rates until next year to avoid choking off the recovery, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. The poll of over 50 economists, taken this week, suggested Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) will grow 0.6 percent per quarter through to September 2015.

Co-operative Group boss resigns in fresh crisis

Britain's Co-operative Group announced Tuesday that chief executive Euan Sutherland has resigned, throwing the troubled mutual into a fresh crisis. He will be temporarily replaced by chief financial officer, Richard Pennycook, until a new CEO can be found, the Co-operative said in a statement. Sutherland has decided to step down after less than a year at the helm, blaming the failure to reform the governance of the mutual that is owned by its 4.7 million customers. "It is with great sadness that I have resigned," Sutherland said in the official statement.

Barclays pays nearly 500 bankers more than 1 million pounds

By Matt Scuffham and Steve Slater LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays <BARC.L> paid almost 500 staff more than 1 million pounds ($1.67 million) last year, prompting criticism that pay is still too high and that banks have not changed their ways since the financial crisis.
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