Business Diary: Honor Blackman seeks equitable settlement

Some good news at last for victims of the Equitable Life scandal still fighting for a better compensation deal. Honor Blackman has agreed to give the campaign her public backing. Let's see if the glamorous actress can do for Equitable Life savers what Joanna Lumley managed for the Gurkhas.

Britain's favourite small business

So congratulations to the Left Bank Brasserie in Ormskirk, which is Britain's best-loved small business, according to online comparison site thebestofUK. It got a whopping 573 endorsements from customers, enough to beat off competition from 30,000 other businesses.

When the columnists start fighting

Bruised egos at the Financial Times? A week ago, Niall Ferguson caused controversy with a column suggesting a Greek-style sovereign debt crisis could eventually engulf the US. Fellow FT columnist Martin Wolf is not convinced. "I promptly dismissed this as hysteria," he wrote of Ferguson's warnings yesterday.

Davies promises to bore the banks

It looks like the Government is still keen to get tough on the banks this bonus season. At a fringe briefing at the Mobile World telecoms conference in Barcelona, the Trade minister Mervyn Davies was asked to opine on the banks. "The lessons for the industry on capital liquidity and compensation must be drilled into their skulls," he said.

Buffett's not so exclusive club

The merchants of Omaha are rubbing their hands with glee over that 50-for-one share split by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. Thousands of the sage's investors flock to his Nebraska home town each year for Berkshire's annual meeting, sending hotel rates sky high and filling restaurants, and there could be many more after the split. But there's only one Warren Buffett, and something has to give. That, it turns out, is the tradition of holding a reception for shareholders from overseas, who will now have to join the rest of the mob. Their chance of getting to ask the Oracle a question? About one in a thousand.

Number of the day: £30m

The tax demand facing Robert Gaines-Cooper after he lost a legal dispute with HMRC over his non-residency in the UK.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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