Business Diary: The train doesn't take the strain

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The Independent Online

Today's award for a nakedlyself-interested survey goes to CrossCountry trains, which reckons "cuts in the use of first-class train travel are costing UK businesses £15,624 in lost productivity per employee every year". The train company arrived at this remarkably precise figure by surveying 1,000 business folk – more than half of them said they had been stopped from using first-class train travel during the downturn and 70 per cent of those banned from the posh seats said they felt unable to work instandard carriages. Our hearts go out to them.

A bed too big for a lawyer to lie in

Another victim of Bernie Madoff's king-sized returns has emerged. Many of the great fraudster's belongings were auctioned off at the weekend to raise money for those he cheated. Now the US gossip site Dealmaker reports that the woman who paid $2,500 (£1,560) to buy the Madoffs' marital bed, one Tally Wiener, a lawyer, has discovered a problem with her purchase: the bed is so large that she can't fit it in her apartment. Ms Wiener has now vowed to track down Ruth, Bernie's wife, and to offer it back to her.

A right royal miserable bunch

It looks as if the press office at Buckingham Palace has a sense of humour. Yesterday's statement on the royal wedding came just as all the rolling news channels were discussing the disappointing inflation figures. On CNBC, David Buik of BGC was looking downcast about rising prices. On the BBC News Channel, a talking head from Schroders sounded similarly negative. Meanwhile, under their miserable faces ran newsflashes breaking the news that Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry. The City folk were left looking rather curmudgeonly.

The City pledges to be considerate

Well you can't fault the idea: The City of London Corporation, which provides local government services in the Square Mile, has come up with a "considerate contractor scheme" which is surely an oxymoron if ever there was one. Moreover, will it apply to the nation's leading banks, most of which are headquartered within the City?