Column One: Wynne's World

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The Independent Online
Ifear a trembling of the sherry glasses as Wynne Godley, the Cambridge scourge of Orthodox economics, opens his copy of the Old Rugbeians newsletter where he is referred to not once, but twice, as Wayne Godley. Such a moniker may be fine for the Essex University Professor of Shell Suits, but not for the son of Lord Kilbracken.

Still, it does throw up the thought of Wynne's World - the world's first grunge guide to economics. 'Interest rates should be hiked 3 per cent to end the recession. Not]' Or something like that.

It all depends who you ask. Only last week British Gas was telling us that it was the second most admired company after Marks & Spencer.

This week we learn the business press puts British Gas sixth from the bottom out of 466 companies. Presswatch Annual 1993 finds the one we love to hate most is Barclays Bank, with a negative score of 7442. British Gas blew in at minus 3819. And goody-two-shoes Marks & Spencer scooped the prize yet again with a top score of 2553.

And while on the subject of Barclays Bank . . . .

So keen is it to smooth the transfer of departing finance director Peter Wood to Standard Chartered Bank that it has already sent its entire stock of photographs of him to his new employer, even though he is not expected until 1 May. Hardly a trace of him will remain soon at Barclays. Surely it does not blame him for the unfavourable column inches?

Bemrose, the printing group, is learning a thing or two about making a buck out of bereavement. It is buying the rest of a profitable US joint venture, part of which makes assorted grieving paraphernalia. Apparently a popular item is a book, hewn out of carved wood, to record funerals for posterity including the names of guests and pall-bearers. The company revels in the felicitous name of Renaissance.

So this is progress] Summary financial statements, introduced in 1989, to be more user-friendly have not been a roaring success. According to a report by the Research Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, such statements in most cases give identical profit and loss accounts and balance sheet figures to those in the full report, but without the relevant notes.

Opening soon in Jermyn Street, a men's fashion store that promises to 'shock the pants' off the traditional mahogany-panelled men's outfitters. Could this be because the decor at John Bray will be purple, coral and mauve or because the clothes will be clearly priced, leaving customers in no doubt about how much they are going to spend?

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