Business Diary: Chancellor plays the funny man

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The Independent Online

George Osborne couldn't resist the opportunity to get a cheap laugh out of the audience at the Google Zeitgeist conference yesterday, where he was the first speaker of the day. The reason the Chancellor was given the early slot was to allow him to get away in plenty of time for the European finance ministers' meeting in Brussels, an event that in the end was rather overshadowed by the arrest of the International Monetary Fund boss. "Not everyone is going to be there," Osborne observed tartly.

Britons make the worst bosses

Britain has the worst bosses in the world – or maybe just the most critical employers. A poll conducted by Monster, the recruitment agency, reveals that 41 per cent of British staff think their boss is "totally incompetent", a higher percentage than anywhere else in the world. In China, for example, just 15 per cent of employees said the same thing, while the figure was almost as low in India. Even the workforces of the US and the rest of Europe aren't so damning about their managers.

Travelodge makes catwalk debut

Birmingham's Bull Ring is Britain's fashion mecca. That's according to the budget hotel chain Travelodge, which has just opened its latest hotel in the shopping centre complex. To mark the event, it ran a competition aimed at finding new design talent in Birmingham, with entrants expected to come up with an outfit using only a bedsheet. Let's hope the hotel chain doesn't suffer a spate of thefts on its linen cupboard.

No rest for campaigning Caan

James Caan may no longer be one of the stars of Dragons' Den, but it appears he's keen not to let his profile slide. A spot of promotion for Get Britain Trading might be the ticket – it's a campaign launched to promote smaller companies and the contribution they make to Britain's economy. "Those businesses that have survived the recession have proven their strength and durability and I believe that with the right support, many of them could be very successful indeed," the businessman says in a statement which is inevitably headlined "Yes we Caan".