Business Diary: Insurers drop a hint on tax

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The Independent Online

Breaking news from the Association of British Insurers, boasting of the industry's "crucial" rising tax contribution to the economy. Apparently the industry has ponied up £10.4bn as the country recovers from the recession – enough, says the ABI, to cover the entire £10.2bn budget of the Home Office. It's an interesting example to single out, given what is likely to be a fraught debate over how much of the bill for the riots should be covered by insurers and how much should fall on government compensation schemes.

Clydesdale has a racy parent

The customers of Clydesdale, one of Britain's oldest banks, might have something to say about the use to which their savings could soon be put. Clydesdale is owned by National Australia Bank, which is one of the investors in an interesting business expansion taking place in Sydney – what the locals are calling the "world's biggest brothel". The Sydney Morning Herald explains that the building in question includes "spas, lounges, restaurant, an underground car park and a number of 'multi-bed rooms'."

Roubini returns with a vengeance

Nouriel Roubini is back from his holiday in Maine and has hit the ground running on the global economic crisis. Most of all, he wants people to know that critics of central banks and their quantitative easing policies – that means you, Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas – are idiots. "Laissez-faire free market lunatics blame it all/ always on Fed & Keynesian fiscal policies," he tweets. "Too bad financial crises were more severe before Fed/Keynes".

Paulson's run of bad luck continues

Once, everything John Paulson touched turned to gold. But the tables appear to have turned on the hedge fund manager who made billions of dollars from the sub-prime crisis: we knew he'd taken a bath on financial stocks during the past few weeks of stock market volatility, but now we learn, courtesy of the US website Deal Journal, that he's been hit for six by Hewlett Packard too. Paulson has a large stake in the company, whose shares have dived since it announced a strategy overhaul (including a bid for Autonomy). Deal Journal reckons he may have lost as much as $500m.