Business Diary: Lord Young is not without allies

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The Independent Online

Far from everyone, it seems, thought Lord Young should fall on his sword yesterday following comments that appeared to make light of the effect on folk of both the recession and government cuts. Friends in the City were queuing up to offer their support. "The noble Lord makes a very good point," said HowardWheeldon, of BGC Partners.

"He is, in many respects, right," added Mark Littlewoods, dir-ector-general of the Institute ofEconomic Affairs. "The coalition's cuts are modest, not enormous."

No Christmas cheer at SMEs

One group of people who definitely have not "never had it so good" in Lord Young's words, are the staff of smaller companies. Around 40 per cent of such businesses have no intention of holding a Christmas party this year, a survey from Employment Law Advisory Services reveals – either because they haven't got the money or because they've cut jobs this year and think having a blow-out might be seem as a little insensitive. A lesson for the noble Lord there somewhere.

Bankers do their bit for the kids

Britain's banks' attempts to rehabilitate themselves continue. The British Bankers Association, which normally concerns itself with matters such as tier-one capital ratios, put out a press release yesterday detailing the lengths the banking industry has gone to to support Children in Need. Many banks arecollecting cash in branches –

it points out – while Barclays and HSBC staff were apparently manning the phones for the BBC's telethon last night. As for the BBA itself, staff were naturally keen to contribute too. They did a bring-and-buy cake sale yesterday. Bankers really do care.

The perfect dress for Kate's big day?

We may not know yet who will be designing Kate Middleton's dress for the big day, but the blue Issa number she wore on the day of her engagement turned some heads. So fair play to Tesco, which took less than 48 hours to announce that it has produced an almost identical number which will be available in its supermarkets for just £16. It reminds us to point out to Kate, given these times of austerity, that Tesco's rival, Asda, now sells wedding dresses.