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Total CEO De Margerie killed in Moscow plane crash

Christophe de Margerie. Credit: PA Wire

The chief executive of French oil firm Total has been killed in a plane crash in Moscow, airport officials confirmed.

Christophe de Margerie died in an accident at Moscow's Vnukovo airport on Monday night, a spokeswoman for the airport said.

The spokeswoman said: "Tonight, a plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine.

"Three crew members and a passenger died. I can confirm that the passenger was Total's head de Margerie"

In a statement posted on the Total website, the firm said: "The thoughts of the management and employees of the Group go out to Christophe de Margerie’s wife, children and loved ones as well as to the families of the three other victims."


Cameron to use welfare cuts to fund millions of new apprenticeships

Prime Minister David Cameron. Credit: PA Wire

Prime Minister David Cameron is to pledge to end youth unemployment in the next Parliament by using money saved by welfare cuts to fund three million new apprenticeships.

The proposals to be announced today will see the benefits cap lowered from £26,000 to £23,000 and cuts to welfare payments for 18-21-year-olds.

Some 70,000 households will be affected by the plans, around 40,000 of which would be hit for the first time, according to the Conservatives' figures.

The money will be used to fund three million new apprenticeships, with leading businesses including Microsoft, Ford, Airbus and Nestle, by 2020.

Cameron said the plan to invest an extra £1bn in apprenticeships would help young people "make something of themselves".

Civil service staff to get equal parental leave pay

Equal parental leave pay for Civil Service staff Credit: PA Wire

Male and female Civil Service staff will be offered equal parental pay and support from 2015, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is to announce this week.

Currently only mothers are offered full pay when a couple choose to share parental leave.

It comes after the Government announced last year that from April 2015 parents will have the choice over how they split parental leave entitlement.

But there was no onus on employers offering occupational maternity schemes above and beyond that to do so on an equal basis.

It is hoped the move at the Civil Service, also to come in next April, will encourage other public and private sector organisations to follow.

HSBC launches lowest ever mortgage deal

The 0.99% mortgage deal is the lowest the bank has ever offered. Credit: PA

HSBC has intensified the mortgage price war after launching its lowest ever rate deal of 0.99%.

The deal will be available from Monday and mortgage experts said they have not seen such an offer since the 1990s.

Under the terms people can choose to cut extra chunks off the size of their loan by making overpayments of up to 20% of the standard monthly mortgage repayment each month.

But early repayment charges apply for the first two years of the deal if someone wants to pay off more than this.

It is the latest offering in a string of deals which have been launched by lenders in recent weeks as they strive to make their ranges more appealing.


New ISA considered for peer-to-peer lending

The government is considering new plans to allow savers to hold peer-to-peer loans in their Individual Savings Accounts (Isas) - meaning their returns would be entirely tax free.

A tax-free allowance is set to be introduced for peer-to-peer lending. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Peer-to-peer - or P2P - lenders act as middle men, giving consumers a means to lend money either to businesses or to other people that are looking to borrow.

The industry has seen a rapid growth in recent years, often offering a much higher return than those available in traditional savings accounts.

A consultation has been launched today on including such in the tax-free allowance offered to people by Isas.

While peer-to-peer lending could be included in existing stocks and shares Isas, one proposal being considered is the formation of a new, third Isa.

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