The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 13 September 2012

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George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said the autumn statement would be on 5 December, and commentators said he would confront the dwindling chance of meeting debt targets set for 2015. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said the government would set up a ‘business bank’ to lend to companies. The Commons Public Accounts Committee said a £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund set up in April last year had created only 2,442 jobs. Delegates to the Trades Union Congress voted to support co-ordinated strikes against a public sector pay freeze. Tories from the right of the party started a group called Conservative Voice. The nation took a keen interest in a quadruple murder near Annecy in France in which Saad al-Hilli, a British man of Iraqi background, from Claygate in Surrey, was shot dead in his car, together with his wife and mother-in-law, and a local cyclist; a seven-year-old daughter was wounded and a four-year-old was found by French police hiding beneath her mother’s body eight hours after the incident. Two burglars, out of four who had broken into a house near Melton Mowbray, were wounded with shotgun pellets; the householder and his wife were held before being released. A man was jailed for three and a half years for manslaughter after killing a man with a punch in a row at a takeaway in Blackpool over whether cheese was properly melted on his chips.

Hundreds of thousands of people thronged the streets from Mansion House to Buckingham Palace to cheer floats carrying 800 United Kingdom athletes from the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the Paralympics, Britain ended up with 34 gold, 43 silver and 43 bronze medals, to come third in the table behind Russia and China, in first position, with 95 golds.

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