Business Diary: Work experience doesn't come cheap

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The Independent Online

How much would you pay to give your kids an edge in their careers? The charity fund-raiser Pilotflight is holding an auction of work placements, with bidding currently at £550 for two days' experience as a City trader on the trading floor of a major bank. The same money has also been offered for a day with he property developer Nick Leslau, but the top bid, £2,200, is for three days' work experience at Five News home to Natasha Kaplinsky.

Don't burn down the house this Christmas

Anyone worried that the European Commission doesn't always spend taxpayers' money wisely should take comfort from a press release issued yesterday. Our friends in Brussels have been engaged in some random tests of Christmas lighting chains – a third are "an obvious and direct risk of fire and electric shocks", it warns.

Estate agents find some unlikely allies

How's this for a case of unlikely bedfellows? Peter Bolton King, the head of the National Association of Estate Agents, is cock-a-hoop about securing the support of several backbench MPs in his campaign for an extension of the stamp duty holiday given by the Chancellor last year on some housing transactions. Early day motion signatories include the prominent left-wingers Jeremy Corbyn and Jon Cruddas.

Protecting the value of a decent nickname

All companies take precautions to protect their brands, but not many have to think about safeguarding a nickname too. McDonald's has asked the Intellectual Property Office to register the term "Maccy D's" as one of its trademarks, so widely used has the phrase become.

Festive scraps lead to the dole queue

If your employer hasn't cancelled this year's Christmas party for financial reasons, think carefully about how much you drink. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development says one in 10 workers know someone who has got the push or been disciplined after bad behaviour at the Christmas do. Fighting comes top of the list of reasons for getting into trouble.

Number of the day: 10m

The number of British homes that have a Freeview set-top box, a milestone just passed by the broadcasting company.