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Antony Jenkins: Barclays chief executive to step down

Barclays said chief executive Antony Jenkins is to step down.

A "new set of skills were required" at the helm of the group, Barclays deputy chairman Deputy chairman Sir Michael Rake said.

Antony Jenkins is leaving the bank. Credit: PA Wire

He added that new leadership was required to accelerate the pace of change at the lender.

I reflected long and hard on the issue of group leadership and discussed this with each of the non-executive directors. Notwithstanding Antony's significant achievements, it became clear to all of us that a new set of skills were required for the period ahead.

– Sir Michael Rake

The bank said it will appoint chairman John McFarlane as executive chairman from July 17 until a successor is found.

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British heroes to get £10,000 Budget 'thank you'

Holders of the Victoria Cross (pictured) and George Cross will receive a £10,000-a-year annuity. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Recipients of the Victoria Cross (VC) and George Cross (GC) - the highest military and civilian honours for bravery - are to receive a £10,000-a-year "thank you" in George Osborne's summer Budget.

The tax-free award will be paid for using £3 million in penalties levied from financial institutions.

Recipients of the awards have traditionally received an annuity, which amounted to £2,129 last year - a figure the Chancellor chose to increase.

There are 10 living VC holders and 20 GC holders.

Osborne said it was "only right" that Britain did all it could to support its heroes, adding: "It is quite right that we use the bank fines from those who demonstrated the worst of values to support those who have shown the best of British values."

Weather: A cooler day with patchy showers

Highs of 22C on Wednesday.

Today will be cooler than of late, particularly in the northeast, with a northerly breeze blowing in off the North Sea.

It will also be rather cloudy for many, especially this morning when we will also see some patchy rain or drizzle at times.

Showers will be seen across Scotland at times today and we will also see some potentially heavy showers in the east this afternoon.

Further west it will get brighter with some sunny spells later in the day. With the breeze and cloud making it feel cooler a top temperature of 22C (72F) forecast.

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Middle earners set for boost with '40% tax rate rise'

George Osborne is to accelerate plans to raise the threshold for 40% income tax in today's Budget, according to various newspaper reports.

According to the Times, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, the Chancellor is expected to begin increasing the threshold from the current £42,385 toward an eventual target of £50,000.

The rise is said to save up to £1,300 a year for those earning between £50,000 and £100,000, and follows a period in which millions were dragged into the higher-rate tax band.

SNP and Labour attack expected tax credit cuts

SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie said tax credit cuts would hurt low-income families. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The SNP and Labour have attacked anticipated Conservative plans to cut tax credits in the "first true blue Tory Budget" for nearly two decades.

SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie accused George Osborne of acting "like Robin Hood in reverse", with both parties claiming more than 500,000 children in Scotland would suffer as a result of the move.

Hosie, the party's Treasury spokesman at Westminster, said the Budget "looks set to be an offering from an austerity cult - damaging the economy and hurting hard working and vulnerable people".

Joining the condemnation, Labour's shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said: "With their proposed cuts to tax credits, the Budget risks cutting the feet from under people who do the right thing, go out to work every day and try to do the best by their families.

"This Government needs to be tackling the root causes of the rising welfare bill - low pay and rising housing costs - to bring down the deficit in a sustainable way."

British woman dies after going missing on US mountain

A Phoenix Fire Department handout photo. Credit: Phoenix Fire Department

A British woman has been found dead after going missing on a mountain in the United States, local fire officials say.

The 48-year-old hiker was hiking with her husband and son on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona when she became separated from them after reaching the summit, according to Phoenix Fire Department.

Officials said the woman was found off trail in a ravine after being reported missing around four hours earlier, local broadcaster 12 News reports.

It is currently unclear what caused her death.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it is looking into the reports and stands ready to provide consular assistance to the family.

Osborne: Greek crisis justifies spending cuts

George Osborne will announce his first all-Conservative Budget today. Credit: PA

George Osborne will call today's Budget one to "secure Britain's future" as he points to the situation in Greece as a reason to continue efforts to cut the deficit.

In his first Budget statement since his Conservative Party won a majority at the General Election, Osborne is expected to argue that "the greatest mistake this country could make would be to think all our problems are solved".

"You only have to look at the crisis unfolding in Greece as I speak to realise that if a country’s not in control of its borrowing, the borrowing takes control of the country."

Along with well-publicised measures to cut welfare spending, the Chancellor is also set to make announcements on education, infrastructure and investment in the north.

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