Credit crisis diary: 07/03/2009

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The Independent Online

Grade's PR team should have done better

Retribution is swift at ITV. Michael Grade took a battering after unveiling the broadcaster's results earlier this week, with media outlets queuing up to suggest his recovery plans had failed. And after the failure of ITV's spinners to talk up the company, let alone Grade himself, guess which department is facing the axe first in the inevitable round of job cuts. That's right, nearly half of ITV's PR staff are now set for the chop.

Cutting off your nose to spite your face?

Michael O'Leary, the Ryanair chief executive, says he rues the day his airline bought a stake in Aer Lingus, the rival which he had hoped to take over. But O'Leary, right, isn't letting his Irish foes off lightly. With Aer Lingus due to publish its results next week, Ryanair has promised to release 1,000 free seats on its flights for every €1m of losses its rival announces. O'Leary reckons he might have to offer 150,000 freebies, which is rather an expensive way to make a point, surely.

Newcastle learns from a master

What is it about north-eastern mortgage lenders? You'd have thought a small building society, doing modest business in a cautious sector, would have been insulated from the worst of the credit crunch. Well not in the case of Newcastle Building Society, which managed to rack up an impressive £25m loss for last year, mainly thanks to an embarrassing exposure to Iceland's banks. It obviously felt compelled to compete with its near neighbour Northern Rock.

Small business says no to nosey parkers

The Department for Transport certainly picks its moments. Several years ago, new legislation gave local authorities the power to start charging employers a levy for each private parking place they provide for their staff. Now, just as the recession really begins to bite, the DfT has decided to start consulting on how this tax should be implemented – small businesses, in particular, are up in arms.

It's going to be even worse than the 1930s

Don't choke on your porridge, but Morgan Stanley is staking its reputation on being the first forecaster to suggest this recession will be worse than the Great Depression. During that slowdown, total UK profits fell by 57 per cent. This time around, Morgan Stanley reckons the figure will hit 60 per cent.