Business Diary: 19/09/2009
Saturday 19 September 2009
Aviva's advocate really does her job
When the insurer Aviva first began examining ways of unlocking £1.2bn-worth of assets in its "inherited estate", it knew it would have to hire someone formidable to represent policyholders' interests, or face accusations it was being unfair to them.
Still, it got more than it bargained for with the former energy regulator Clare Spottiswoode. The policyholders' champion yesterday welcomed High Court approval for a deal, agreed after two years of negotiations, but couldn't help chucking barbs the way of the FSA and Aviva itself. "The rules favour shareholders," she moaned after a series of spats with Aviva.
A business opportunity shines out
Famous for the festival, Glastonbury is obviously also home to some entrepreneurial spirit too. Jules Bending, a local estate agent, says he has stockpiled 10,500 100w traditional light bulbs. Once EU rules requiring retailers only to stock energy-efficient bulbs come into effect in 2010, Mr Bending plans to sell his stockpile at inflated prices. He reckons £40 to £60 a go sounds fair.
Mercer press office comes out fighting
Expect a combative approach to press relations and marketing from Mercer, the employee benefits consultancy, which has hired a new chief for its American press office. His name is Bruce Lee.
The campaign that won before it even started
No news yet on Monday evening's Stand up for the Observer event, due to be hosted by the comedian David Mitchell. The event appears to be going ahead, despite this week's announcement from Guardian Media Group that it won't be closing the Sunday paper, despite speculation this was on the cards.
Pedal power to the fore at Rolls-Royce
Best known for its powerful engines, Rolls-Royce now has another claim to fame – and it's a slightly greener one. The aerospace company is Britain's most prolific adopter of the Cycle to Work initiative, which offers tax breaks on bikes. Almost 1,700 employers have bought bikes collectively worth more than £1m through their company scheme.
Number of the day: 15%
The VAT rate at which firms can reclaim if taking clients to lap-dancing clubs. Harriet Harman wants them excluded.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
- 3 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 4 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 5 Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence referendum live: Latest news as Scotland votes Yes or No
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Scottish independence: Almost half of No voters have felt 'personally threatened' by the Yes campaign
Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
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