Business Diary: Gifts that could be real handcuffs

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The Independent Online

Our thanks to Pricewaterhouse-Coopers for a handy little guide to what it is acceptable to receive in the way of corporate freebies this Christmas. With new bribery laws coming into force in the new year, PwC advises caution: you'll be fine with the odd branded mouse mat, for example, but think carefully before accepting any more alcohol than a single bottle of wine. As for a Christmas hamper, or anything delivered to your home, rather than work, send it back before the Fraud Squad arrives at dawn. It's no fun, we know, but do you really want to see in 2011 in a cell?

Reims raises glass to bubbly's future

At this time of year, many high-brow academics like to turn their attentions to slightly more populist topics for a bit of light relief. So why shouldn't a leading management school put some work together on the champagne industry, predicting a rebound from the bubbly stuff this Christmas following a tough 2009 that saw sales mired in recession? Just one thing: you might say the Reims Management School is just a little bit partial, what with Reims being the capital of the champagne region and all.

Waitrose's royal lineage continues

Happy news for Waitrose, which yesterday capped a good year with the announcement it has been awarded a royal warrant as Grocer and Wine & Spirit Merchants to Prince Charles. It has the same deal with the Queen and also held the award with the Queen Mother until her death eight years ago. All Waitrose needs now is Prince William and the set is complete. Time to offer a cheap deal on victuals for the Royal Wedding reception?

Osborne given bleak midwinter

Good to see that George Osborne managed to beat the snow and make it home from the US in the end – his flight was delayed on Monday and he had to cancel a meeting with bank chiefs over bonuses. And how nice of the Robin Hood taxcampaign to provide him with a welcome back to Downing Street. Having turned out on Monday to serenade theChancellor with banker-themed Christmas carols – "Away in a Bail-out", "Hark the Golden Bonus Rings", that sort of thing – they returned yesterday so that he didn't miss out.