Business Diary: 29/08/2009

Provident lends a pricey helping hand

They're a kind bunch at Provident, the sub-prime lending specialist. Aware that in these difficult times, some people are finding themselves a little short, it's sending out personalised mailshots offering loans – "a local agent" will even deliver the cash to your door. And with an APR of just 254.5 per cent, what's not to like about the deal?

A new hazard on the golf course

Gleneagles is renowned throughout the golfing world for its difficulty, but this weekend's Johnnie Walker Championship at the Perthshire course may be even trickier. Protesters furious about the closure of Johnnie Walker facilities in Scotland – owner Diageo is seeking to cut costs – are threatening to target the tournament. Watch out for them on the fairways.

No wonder so many are going home

Immigration figures this week revealed that Poles are leaving the UK en masse for the first time since we opened our borders to the Eastern European accession states. The news prompted raised eyebrows given the gap in living standards that still exists between the UK and Poland. Still, Poland emerged from recession in the second quarter, it was revealed yesterday, which isn't a boast that the UK can make.

A brave time to launch new flights

Best of luck to, the budget airline, which is about to begin flights from East Midlands airport to Turkey and Egypt. You might have thought this was an odd time to expand, given the economic malaise that has sent many airlines bust, but disagrees and plans to create 250 jobs. Good on them.

Merchant Inns loses its chief executive

There's been a falling-out at Merchant Inns, the pub chain where serial investor Sir John Ritblat, left, has a large stake. Chief executive, Robert Breare, has departed, reports the specialist trade title Caterersearch. Ritblat and Breare had been close, forming a joint venture to purchase the pub and accommodation chain. But only one of them is staying.

Number of the day: £231k

The cost of Deveronvale Perfection, the world's most expensive sheep, sold in Scotland for breeding.

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