Business Diary: 05/12/2009

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The Independent Online

The issues that really worry our MPs

In these difficult times for the world, what is Cheadle MP Mark Hunter most worried about? Global warming, the recession or even knife crime?

No, he's especially concerned that banks are about to drop the use of cheques, in common with an increasing number of retailers, and he's launched a "Save the Cheque" campaign. He's even managed to sign up the Federation of Small Business to support the initiative.

Government building guru is all in a spin

"I'm going to be taken seriously or I'm going." So says Paul Morrell, the Government's chief construction adviser, on the front of the latest issue of Building magazine. This wish not to be ignored is in no way undermined by the fact that Mr Morrell has allowed himself to be photographed in a bizarre pose in a swivel chair on a rooftop.

Sir John is now playing in the big league

Former Bank of England deputy governor Sir John Gieve was the Treasury's chosen fall guy following the banking crisis, and eventually stepped down from the post last year. But Sir John is poised to have the last laugh, having signed on at hedge fund GLG to help it invest in banks. One imagines he is earning a fair bit more than

in his days at the Bank – and certainly more than the Treasury mandarins who forced him out. News of Sir John's departure, you will remember, broke in the middle of a Bank of England dinner at Mansion House, much to his obvious discomfort.

Spain has probably had better days

No disrespect to the National Association of Estate Agents' new initiative to help people buy property in Spain without fear of being ripped off. But is "Safe Purchase Spain" really "the biggest thing to happen to Spain for years", as the NAEA press release claims? Bigger than winning the European Championship, say?

Number of the day: $100bn

The value of a joint venture between miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton that could be signed as early as today.

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