Business Diary: Now Tories owe Branson a favour

Fulsome praise from the Conservatives for Sir Richard Branson's warning that unless we get on top of the deficit, Britain may face the prospect of higher interest rates. Having done the Tories a favour, let's see if they feel like reciprocating: just what is Conservative policy on the tie-up between British Airways and American, a deal to which Sir Richard is implacably opposed?

Melting Cadbury's brand value

Top work, Cadbury shareholders. Brand Finance's annual survey of the world's 500 biggest brands is in and one of the top risers for 2009 is Cadbury, which saw the value of its brand rise by 28 per cent. Kraft, meanwhile, saw its brand value fall 42 per cent, the analyst says. Hardly a marriage made in heaven.

Rubbing salt into the wound of Kraft

Still on Cadbury, a reader is in touch with a story that adds insult to injury. Having never wanted to sell up to Kraft in the first place, the poor chap is now being told by Computershare, Cadbury's registrar, that he can't now do so unless he pays it £80. His Cadbury share certificates have gone missing and that's what Computershare wants to charge him for replacements.

Harnessing the power of the sun, occasionally

It's madness. Word reaches us, via one of Britain's big housebuilders, of a well-known local authority with some odd views about climate change. The builder in question has been told that one of its landmark developments must feature solar panels on every home's roof. Equally, though, the panels can't be visible from the street. A majority of the houses have west-facing gardens, so the panels will hardly be touched by the sun, but no matter.

Under attack from every side

Not only does everyone hate the bankers, but HM Customs & Revenue has developed a taste for investigating their tax affairs. Law firm McGrigors has discovered, thanks to a freedom of information request, that HMRC is now getting 360 per cent more tax, following enquiries into the affairs of wealthy taxpayers, than five years ago.

Number of the day: 20 per cent

The fall in the cost of hotel rooms in Britain's key business destinations, according to a survey by HRG.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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