Today, 28/02/2013 Live

28 Feb 2013 Last updated at 11:13

Thursday 28 February

New European rules to cap bonus payments to bankers have been agreed - despite opposition from Britain. More than 40% of us will face an increase in council tax this year. And we speak to the award-winning novelist William Boyd, whose first play opens this week.
  • 28 Feb 2013 08:54:08


    A new book, Cancel The Apocalypse, explains that have all got too tied into a senseless and relentless pursuit of economic growth and actually would be happier if we chose to work a shorter working week and made other major changes to the way we run our economy. Andrew Simms, fellow of the New Economics Foundation and author of the book, and Frances Cairncross, rector of Exeter College, Oxford, discuss whether we should work fewer hour in the week.

    Joe O'Donnell
    @BBCr4today it's such a good idea -longer working on 4 days and 5th off to spend money in economy and spend time with family
    Southern Tutors LTD
    @BBCr4today Only if we also started getting a siesta at lunchtime and the sun started shinning ten degrees hotter!
  • 28 Feb 2013 08:59:08


    The acting chief executive of an NHS trust has "stepped aside" while an investigation is carried out into whether high mortality rates were covered up by staff at the Royal Bolton Hospital in Greater Manchester. Dr Jackie Bene, stood down after it was found an unusually high number of patients had been "coded" as dying from septicaemia in 2011. Our health correspondent Dominic Hughes reports.
    Dr James Treadwell
    @BBCr4today Royal Bolton Hospitals statement 'no evidence the patients were harmed' very much depends how you define harm.
  • 28 Feb 2013 08:48:22


    Bankers in the European Union could, for the first time, face a legal cap on bonuses from next year following an agreement reached in Brussels. Our business correspondent Simon Jack speaks to  Alexandra Beidas - employee incentives lawyer at Linklaters.

    I presume they will identify people to whom the cap applies as any employee of a company with a banking licence. But many activities for which bonuses are paid are not activities for which a banking licence is necessary, so will we see banks demerging such activities into companies that are not banks? And will this cap apply to branches of non EU banks who operate within the EU? Or to branches or subsidiaries of EU banks operating outside the EU?

    David, via our Facebook page
  • 28 Feb 2013 08:43:06


    President Obama is warning that Congress is about to put America's economic recovery in danger by allowing $85bn worth of automatic cuts to federal spending to  go ahead. The BBC's North America Editor Mark Mardell reports from Virginia, one of the areas which will be worst affected by the cuts.

    BBC Radio 4 Today
    BBC News - #Sequester budget cuts: America's grim fairy tale @BBCMarkMardell
  • 28 Feb 2013 08:32:23


    The search for a mother-of-three suffering with post-natal depression (PND) ended yesterday after police found a body. Bethany Reynolds, who had PND with her first son and ante natal with her second son, reflects on the disease and Rachel Dobson, who set up the charity Pandas Foundation that aims to help people with PND, outlines whether there is enough support for women with the disease and their families.

  • 28 Feb 2013 08:12:53


    This week, scientists pieced together the exact trajectory of the meteorite that struck Russia recently and worked out the asteroid belt it came from, all by piecing together the many pieces of video footage. Juliet Gardiner, a historian, Olivia Solon, associate editor of, analyses how the work of historians and technology could become more linked in the future.

    David Jørgensen
    #r4today answering the question of why so many Russians have dashboard cameras in their cars!
  • 28 Feb 2013 08:00:15


    Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) made a pre-tax loss of £5.3bn last year but there was an underlying profit, the largest operating profit since 2008 of £3.5 billion. Stephen Hester, chief executive of RBS, talks to John Humphrys about the bank that is 82% owned by UK taxpayers.

    BBC Radio 4 Today
    Hester: My job is to try and align #RBS pay with things we want our people to do for customers, shareholders and society as a whole #r4today
    BBC Radio 4 Today
    Hester: 'The cleanup of #RBS is entering its last phases... Privatisation is now a light coming down the tunnel... within reach' #r4today
    BBC Radio 4 Today
    Hester: 'I think that #RBS will be ready to be privatised within the next couple of years' Govt decision 'a matter for them' #r4today
    David Hendy
    #r4today Of course Hester welcomes RBS privatisation. He'll fill his boots. Keep RBS in public ownership and let us all share in profits.

    Hester said on the Today programme this morning that he wants bankers to be treated no differently from anyone else. Does he then support all bank employees being treated the same and all getting bonuses as percentages of their salaries? Miriam
    John Prescott
    RT @BBCr4today: RBS reports 2012 loss of £5.2bn < but still gave out bonuses of £607m. Incredible
    Mike Pannett, author
    @BBCr4today It's time Stephen turned things round at #RBS How long before he turns corner? Should bonus payments be made if not in profit ?
  • 28 Feb 2013 07:31:20


    Thank you for all your comments and feedback on today's programme. Some of you got in touch about the story we looked at earlier about the possible links between five major psychiatric disorders, which triggered a discussion between John and Sarah about the correct pronunciation of "genome"...
    Peter Walker
    Bad outbreak of To-may-toe, To-mah-toe in the @Bbcr4today studio as John Humphreys wonders about the pronunciation of "Genome".........
    Charles Arthur
    “You say genome, I say genome, let’s call the whole thing off” @bbcr4today
    Not that Sarah
    Hey Mr Humphries @bbcr4today is it pronounced 'ped-dant' or 'pee-dant'?
  • 28 Feb 2013 07:47:54


    Eric Pickles faces a significant revolt by town halls over council tax with more than 40% set to shun his plans for a freeze and raise local bills, a survey showed. Brandon Lewis, Local Government Minister, and John Gilbey, leader of Canterbury council, debate whether raising taxes are necessary.
    Brandon Lewis MP
    @BBCr4today is my next stop to discuss council tax freeze helping keep household bills down.
    Local govt minister @BrandonLewis tells @BBCr4today that "there’s still a lot further that local authorities can go" in cutting costs.
    Sandra @Donnysandra tweeted:
    @rossaverde @BBCr4today Councils are doing what anyone who's short of money does. Focus on essentials and make every penny count.
  • 28 Feb 2013 07:37:55


    Thought for the Day with Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Tablet.

Show more posts

Saving lives at sea

Saving small children at sea – MSF migrant rescue diary

The diary of MSF doctor Erna Rijnierse aboard a rescue ship in the Mediterranean.