Premium bonds are in line to be revamped by the Treasury as a publicly owned alternative to the lottery. Gordon Brown is understood to be looking at plans for a remodelled premium bond draw, with bigger prizes and more promotion, including sales of bonds in shops and supermarkets, according to the Sunday Times.

The government is preparing to crackdown on the sale of fireworks to quell the growing number of complaints, reported the Sunday Times. New regulations will include a ban on their sale to the public apart from a month-long window around November 5, new noise restrictions and a curfew of 11pm.

Margaret Beckett has ordered a ruthless clear out of more than 500 DEFRA managers who lack the right skills or attitude, according to the Financial Times.

Online retail sales were buoyant over Christmas and represented 5% of total retail volumes, reported the Sunday Business. In figures to be revealed in expected online retail sales to be worth at least £1.1bn, which would represent a 10% monthly increase, significantly more than for overall retail sales.

Taiwan’s assembly has passed a resolution to ban Diageo’s products such as Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff for a year, reported the Sunday Business. The decision comes after an ad on London Underground for Smirnoff Ice featured a half-wrapped Christmas gift bearing a label saying: “Warning. This gift will break down on Christmas morning. Replacement parts available from service centre. Box No 260 Taiwan. Allow 365 working days for delivery.”

Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes is parting company with Sodexho which will result in the closure of the Rhodes branded restaurants in Manchester, Edinburgh and London. It follows a decision by the French-owned multinational catering firm to drop its stand-alone restaurant business, reported the Sunday Times.

Fast-food chain McDonald’s is to sell organic semi-skimmed milk in an attempt to shake off its reputation for junk food. The 250ml bottles of organic milk bearing the Soil Association logo will go on sale in February, said the Independent on Sunday.

The Times said French critics will find it difficult to pass judgement on the country’s wines after a French magazine was been ordered to pay £200,000 damages to Beaujolais producers. The Lyon Mag quoted a wine judge describing the wine as “un vin de merde” and “fermented fruit juice”.