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Yahoo! posts small revenue rise

Display advertising earnings decline.

Yahoo! has posted a net income of $295.6m for the fourth-quarter of 2012, a decline of 8 per cent compared to the same period a year ago despite a rise of 4 per cent in revenues.

Revenues, net of payments to partner sites and other distribution costs, were $1.2bn.

The company’s search advertising revenues grew by 14 per cent to $427m in fourth-quarter, while display advertising revenues, excluding traffic acquisition costs, fell by 5 per cent.

Marissa Mayer, who joined Yahoo! as chief executive in July, said: “Overall, we have a big investment that we want to make and a big push on search. We have lost some share over the last few years and we would like to regain that share.” She warned that smartphones were “still a very nascent source of revenue for us”.

Yahoo!, which is facing tough competition from Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon, said enhancements to its user interface on desktop and mobile, modifications to Microsoft’s ad-serving technology and favourable seasonal trends during the Christmas season contributed growth in earnings.

With revamped Yahoo Mail app and new Flickr iPhone app, the company grew its mobile users to more than 200m.

Meanwhile, Yahoo! shares grew by almost 5 per cent on Monday.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.