Simon English: Like the curate's egg, but more offensive

Outlook For sheer annoyance value, it is pretty hard to top this from Unilever yesterday.

The press release begins: "Unilever confirms major UK investment with new North West manufacturing & IT hub." Other words near the top: "some proposed changes to its UK business to help maintain and sustain its current success and strengthen its platform for long term growth" … "a major £40m investment".

Shortly after this you get to the news that the company is axing 1,000 jobs (and creating a few new ones).

Quite why large companies imagine it is good PR to obfuscate in this way is hard to see. Surely it would miles better for the chief executive to come out front and centre and say directly, in the plainest language he can manage, that he's decided to cut hundreds of jobs.

He could say he was genuinely sorry, and people might even believe him. Then he could explain why he felt compelled to do it.

The people affected would still be out of a job. But they might feel less insulted.