Business Diary: Party conference on the cheap

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The Independent Online

Another split in the Coalition Government: while the Conservative Party, off to Birmingham for its autumn conference, has chosen a five-star venue, the Hyatt Regency, the Liberal Democrats have opted for something a little moare in keeping with these times of austerity.

Their conference, to be held in Liverpool, will use the mid-market Jurys Inn. Labour, by the way, has picked two venues in Manchester: the Midland and the Radisson Edwardian.

Avon rings Brady's bell

It's another score for Karren Brady, the former Birmingham City managing director, who is now Lord Sugar's right-hand woman on the BBC's The Apprentice. Ms Brady has been asked by Avon, the door-to-door beauty products company, to work with its sales staff, mentoring them, and to look at ways to promote women in business. All together now: you're hired.

Consultant runs into a storm

Knox D'Arcy clearly hoped a press release on public-sector waste would get the management consultancy firm a bit of cheap publicity. Its claim that 500,000 workers could be shed from councils without anyone noticing did indeed make something of a stir, not least with the GMB, the union that represents many local authority workers. "This is fabricated nonsense and the unfounded attacks on council workers and other public- sector workers should stop," says its national secretary, Brian Strutton. "What we could do without and no one would notice is the £690m wasted by the Government employing 2,500 consultants in 2009."

More fun at Ocado's expense

A big thank you to Diary readers for all the entries to yesterday's Ocado quiz, in which we asked you to take up the challenge of the retail analyst Nick Bubb, who wondered what the letters in the online grocer's name might most appropriately stand for. Among the new entries, our pick is "over- confident analysts desperately oblivious", which kind of says it all (not about Mr Bubb, we hasten to add).