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London Stock Exchange's £21bn merger blocked by EU

Credit: PA

The £21 billion merger between the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Borse has been blocked by European regulators.

The European Commission said the two exchanges had failed to address competition concerns.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, said the merger would have "significantly reduced competition by creating a de facto monopoly".

"As the parties failed to offer the remedies required to address our competition concerns, the Commission has decided to prohibit the merger."

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Bank of England holds interest rates at 0.25%

The decision to hold interest rates was not unanimous. Credit: PA

The Bank of England has kept interest rates on hold at 0.25%, but for the first time since last July, the vote by the committee that sets rates was not unanimous.

Eight of the nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) backed the no-change decision.

However, Kristin Forbes, who leaves at the end of June, voted for a rise to 0.5% minutes from the MPC meeting reveal.

Ms Forbes made the move amid fears that inflation is "rising quickly and was likely to remain above target for at least three years", according to the report.

While it marks the first non-unanimous vote since last summer, it also comes as the first call for a rate increase since January 2016.

The decision is the last before Article 50 is expected to be triggered later this month and policymakers were widely expected to leave rates at 0.25% in the face of potential economic turmoil from Brexit negotiations.

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Helping young and reducing deficit main Budget themes

Credit: PA

Chancellor Philip Hammond has revealed to ministers the main themes of Wednesday's Spring Budget.

The Budget is intended to help young people get the skills they need to perform high-skilled and high-paid jobs in future, and give more children the opportunity to go to a good or outstanding school.

Another key theme is to bring down the deficit so the country can "get back to living within its means".

Mr Hammond said the UK economy had continued to show evidence of "fundamental robustness and resilience", but warned further austerity measures are on the cards with deficit and debt "too high".

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