Review of the Year - January 2011
George Osborne rubbed his hands at the thought of an extra £13 billion for Treasury coffers, while we have been facing the effects in every grocery bill, energy charge and inflation figure since.
Arab SpringWordwide, we were shaken by the wave of protest and revolution sweeping the world this month. The Arab Spring that had begun on 18 December 2010 in Tunisia took hold in January, spreading to Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Mauritania, Sudan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Egypt by the end of the month. The Arab world demanded more economic and political freedom, and in many cases by the end of the spring had achieved many of their goals.
Sir Stuart Rose handed over the reigns at Marks & Spencer on 2 January, after riding the rollercoaster for 7 years, seeing off a takeover attempt, and being the first to introduce paid-for carrier bags on the high street.
TescoTesco reached even further into our pockets, by entering the cash-for-gold business. It pledged to bring better value to the market, offering £7.81 a gram. It certainly offered food for thought to remote competitors like Postgoldforcash, which paid £3.27 at the time.
AsdaThe supermarket stepped up its price promise, offering to be 10% cheaper, or to refund the difference. It was to be the first of many initiatives during the year from the supermarkets, and kick-started a war of words where the grocery groups attempted to pick holes in the way their rivals' schemes operated.
There was outrage as the scale of Ministry of Defence bonuses emerged. We discovered that bosses received £39.7 million in the six months to October the previous year - including £84,000 for Archie Hughes, chief executive of the defence support group.
MortgagesFear was rife that interest rates were poised to shoot up, so there was a rush to fixed rate mortgages. There was a 42% rise in remortgaging as the experts warned of a risk of rises in the next few months.... The crystal ball was clearly cloudy that month.
Meanwhile, it emerged that 2.6 million Britons had taken cash out on a credit card the previous year in order to pay their mortgage, revealing just how seriously rising prices had hit households.