Business Diary: A chill wind blows through RBS

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The Independent Online

Bad news for Royal Bank of Scotland (but possibly happier tidings for every other taxpayer): the state-backed bank is planning a new year bonus round that will see staff get at least 30 per cent less than the previous year, according to gossip doing the rounds in the City. Financial gossip website Dealbreaker reckons the decision to slash bonuses by getting on for a third has already been made at senior levels – and that staff are to be informed of the news any day now. Well, chairman Sir Philip Hampton did once say he thought some bankers were hugely overpaid.

Bowled over by BBVA sponsors

Given how worried everyone is about Spain and its banks, would someone like to explain why BBVA thinks it is worth paying up to sponsor the BBVA Compass Bowl, one of the more obscure games in the bizarre post-season of college American football, which next month matches the universities of Pittsburgh and Kentucky. Diary will leave you with the views of Sports Illustrated on the deal: "What a great advertisement for this obscure banking chain – unfortunately, according to its website, there are no branches within 240 miles of either Pittsburgh or Lexington [Kentucky]."

Ten minutes of magic from Unite

An advert for the strength of Unite? On hearing that Nestlé planned to close its After Eight factory in Castleford, the union put out an angry press release condemning the company for the decision to end production next year. Just 10 minutes later, another Unite press release was issued, pointing out that the closure wouldn't take place until 2012. If they can achieve a year's extra work in 10 minutes, think what a longer campaign might achieve.

Snow joke fitting winter tyres

Did you have the foresight to fit winter tyres to your car ahead of the weather turning bad? If so, how very sensible of you, but it might be wise if you were to check your car insurance policy. Bizarrely, some insurers are insisting that this sensible precaution represents a modification of the motors they agreed to provide cover for and that they're therefore entitled to charge additional premiums. After all, they've got to recoup the cost of repairing all those cars crashed because their drivers weren't so sensible.