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The UK's Department for Work and Pensions has announced that those who receive disability benefit will be relieved of the burden of frequent re-assessment once they reach retirement age. That's good news. Almost.

Carillion is one of the UK's largest companies. But at 7 am, UK time, this morning, the company's board issued a statement that took no one by surprise. We've been here before - frantic over-weekend meetings, men in dark suits (these days there are women, too) strutting in with their brief-cases, the expectation of an enormous payday always puts a spring in the step of insolvency practitioners. Men in pin-striped suits leaving meetings stony faced: they are the bankers who decided that their duty to their shareholders exceeded their desire to prevent collapse. The shell-shocked directors who, as soon as they sign-off on the appointment of liquidators lose all authority, now only facing only a series of interviews with insolvency practitioners, possibly prosecutors, certainly Parliamentary Select Committees. And that's before the political fall-out starts in earnest.

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Rick Wagoner may be presented as having fallen on his sword to secure the rescue of General Motors from terminal insolvency. But he's walking away with more money than much of the world' s population would earn in several lifetimes. It seems that the price of failure is a generous pay-off.

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