Business Diary: 03/04/2010

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Xstrata worries about non-existent problem

Mick Davis, the chief executive of Xstrata, was one of the business leaders who signed up to last week's round-robin email criticising the Government's plans for a hike in national insurance. But Davis shouldn't worry too much – only 200 or so of the mining giant's 24,000 workforce are based in the UK and thus affected by the tax rise.

Miners see the worst in folk, it seems

They are cynical folk in the mining industry. When four executives of Rio Tinto were jailed in China on Monday for taking bribes, they insisted their employer knew nothing about the affair. That made the scandal embarrassing for Rio, rather than downright damaging. At this week's Mines and Money industry shindig in Hong Kong, delegates were sceptical – in a snap poll, almost half said they thought someone at Rio should have smelt a rat.

More Britons to carry on camping

Happy news from Halfords, which reports that its tents are now selling twice as fast as last year, as Britons plot camping holidays rather than expensive overseas vacations. On the downside, what more proof do you need that this summer will be a miserable one weather-wise?

Democracy has a downside...

Adrian Rushmore, managing editor at Glass's, the used car bible, says: "In the weeks before and after the May 2005 election, used car sales fell by around 10 per cent, and we anticipate a similar lull in 2010." Ah, but who would you rather buy a used car from – Brown, Cameron or Clegg?

Raise your glasses

Global recession over? Liv-ex, the company that runs the Fine Wine Index – tracking the price of 100 of the most sought-after fine wines – says the measure has just reached an all-time high.

Number of the day: 2

The number of days left in the current tax year to use your Isa allowance or lose it for good.