Business Diary: Doff your baggy green to Ricky Ponting

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The Independent Online

Not much evidence of a recession on Monday night. The City's great and good (that is, what's left of them) went along to Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting's charity dinner in London. And as the wine flowed, several bits of classy cricketing memorabilia were auctioned off to bidders who stumped up £70,000 for an Ashes painting, and nearly five digits for a bat signed by Ponting and other cricketing legends. The charity, the Ponting Foundation, raised more than £300,000 for children with cancer, which we think is pretty good. But let's hope it's Ricky's only celebration this week.

Fish and chips, Sir? That'll cost you

Everything is getting cheaper, according to yesterday's keenly awaited retail price index numbers. Unless you have a particular penchant for good old-fashioned fish and chips, that is. While the Office of National Statistics was saying yesterday that prices were on the way down, the detail disclosed that the cost of processed fish was up 20 per cent on this time last year. To make matters worse, potatoes are up more than 5.2 per cent, making your chips pricier, while those that also like a dollop of mushy peas have suffered as processed vegetable prices have shot up 9.8 per cent. Salt and vinegar?

Willie Walsh and the unions are best mates

The unions negotiating with BA on behalf of the cabin crews, check-in assistants and ground staff need to brush up on their statesmanship. Not content with the use of live lemmings to make a point about where boss Willie Walsh is taking the airline, one demonstrator, left, was happily brandishing a sign reading: "Willie: time to head for the departure gate." Those from a rival union were heard pressing the protester not to "make it personal". Willie claims to be convinced that negotiations will lead to a constructive outcome. It seems he may have support in unlikely places.

Vauxhalls taking a cavalier approach

Unions will make the case for Britain's car industry today with Vauxhalls from every generation descending on London. Let's hope they make the 150-odd miles from Vauxhall's plant in Ellesmere Port.

Number of the day: $6.6bn

The amount Goldman Sachs has set aside for bonuses after announcing a 33 per cent increase in earnings.