Britain's three main political parties all have a £30bn hole in their manifestos that will have to be plugged with huge tax rises or spending cuts after the election, according to Financial Times calculations based on their policy pledges.
The scale of the budget gap amounts to a quarter of spending on the National Health Service, half the cost of basic state pension provision or tax increases for the average household of £1,100 a year.
The potential tax rises would dwarf the £150 a year tax break for married couples proposed by the Conservatives.
With all three manifestos published - and none of the parties setting out more than £10bn in concrete spending cuts - their tax and spending plans are likely to feature in Thursday night's first live television debate between the Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat leaders. See story...
Lehman may have grounds to sue banks
Lehman Brothers may have grounds to sue Goldman Sachs, Barclays and other firms that bought some of the collapsed bank's assets at a $1.2bn discount, a court-appointed legal examiner said.
The Times reports Anton Valukas, the examiner appointed by Lehman's bankruptcy judge, said the fire sale of more than $2 billion of derivatives positions resulted in a "substantial loss" to Lehman, which filed for Chapter 11 protection on September 15, 2008.
As a result, Lehman may have a legitimate claim against "any of the firms that bought [its] positions at a steep discount during the liquidation", he said.
The bust bank may also have a claim against the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the options and futures exchange that conducted the auction, Mr Valukas added. See story...
JP Morgan makes $2.4bn on Wall St but heavy losses at retail banks
The sprawling US banking empire JP Morgan has delivered a stark illustration of the American economy's two-tier recovery by chalking up vast profits from trading on Wall Street while suffering losses on the high street as millions of recession-hit customers struggle to repay mortgages and credit card loans.
Smashing analysts' forecasts, The Guardian reports JP Morgan enjoyed a 55% surge in first-quarter profits to $3.3bn (£2.16bn) compared with a year earlier, setting a tough target for rivals such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, which will report earnings over the next week. The firm's shares climbed nearly 3% during early trading in New York.
But the bank's figures clearly demonstrated the uneven nature of America's gradual return to economic prosperity. While JP Morgan's investment banking division produced a $2.4bn profit, the firm's retail financial services operation suffered a $131m loss and its card services arm lost $303m. See story...
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