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He then joined the Diplomatic Service, early posts including Paris and Bonn. Peterhouse elected him to an honorary fellowship in January.

Hilary Nicholas Hugh Synnott, diplomat: born Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset 20 March 1945; CMG 1997, KCMG 2002; married 1973 Anne Clarke (one son deceased); died Southampton 8 September 2011.

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Sir Hilary had left Basra still hoping his engineering projects, provision of police and other measures to help civilians in Iraq's four southern provinces would be kept even after the sudden American decision to recall the United States's forceful chief in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, and wind up the CPA.

On that trust, of continuing multinational development presence in the south, he told Blair in his Valedictory Dispatch that "the balance of probability is positive." But in response to Blair's evidence asserting that Sir Hilary had been "on balance optimistic not pessimistic" he wrote, on 24 January: "Had I known that the civilian capital, experience and impetus built up over the previous year would be allowed to fall away, thereby increasing the burden on the armed forces, I would no doubt have offered a different judgement." In his book Bad Days in Basra (2008), and in evidence to the Iraq Inquiry, Sir Hilary says he was given political support from London in principle, but this was not followed up in practice.

With Tony Blair's assurance that he could telephone him personally at No 10 if he needed anything, he took up a single suitcase, flew overnight to Kuwait, crossed the desert through a sandstorm into Iraq, and found that the "bloody mess" he had been warned about by a colleague was still worse than he had feared.

For his first few days he lived without sheets, soap, or any means of communication.

Overall the main Savings Index, which measures sentiment towards saving, rose to 114 points in July from 103 points in June, driven by a surge in those who felt good about the amount they could save.

The Savings Attitude Index, which asks respondents about their saving behaviour and how they feel about the amount they can save, rose to 134 points last month from 103 points in June.He was expecting later this year to travel to Muscat, Delhi and Islamabad, and had been a consulting senior fellow from 2004 with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.Little supposing he had less than a year to live, the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee last October called him to give evidence about Pakistan and resolving the situation in Afghanistan, a question of personal interest in as well as professional, since he had two nephews in the Army.Commenting on the survey’s findings, Brendan Synnott, Managing Director of Nationwide UK (Ireland), said: “It is clear that people don’t feel official government policies are doing enough to stimulate and encourage savings behaviour.Since the general election was held in February we’ve seen significant decline in support for government policy among both the under-50s and over-50s age groups.“On the other hand, it is positive to see a rise in the proportion of people who feel good about the amount they can save.Sir Hilary Synnott, who has died after a short illness, was regarded as one of Britain's greatest public servants and the most experienced of his generation in the affairs of his passion, the Indian subcontinent.

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