Credit crisis diary: Chancellor hits a bum note for Corrie's Kym

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The Independent Online

Maybe the Chancellor won't get his pre-Budget report rise in alcohol duty through quite so easily. Guess who the pubs industry has signed up to front its campaign against the tax hike which will wipe out next month's VAT reduction and be in place long after it has gone? It's only Kym Marsh, the former Hearsay pop star who is now Coronation Street's favourite barmaid. The CIA unnerve terrorists in hostage situations by playing loud rock music night and day – is Kym planning a string of live concerts outside No 11?

More bonuses they must hand back

The diary begins this campaign today. Greedy bankers, politicians and anyone else getting extra bunce this Christmas must hand back their bonuses. Not the ones you know about – the £70 one-off payment announced by the Chancellor in the PBR, which is payable to anyone in receipt of a state pension. Since you can claim this benefit – and the Christmas bonus – as soon as you hit state retirement age, all sorts of miscreants will be getting taxpayers' cash. Stop them topping up their wine cellars by joining our battle to make them hand the money back.

As long as you're all right, Chancellor

Alistair Darling thought long and hard about what level of salary to announce as the trigger point for the new 45p rate of income tax. It can only be a coincidence that his own pay is a little shy of £139,000, which will rise to £145k at current inflation rates by the time the tax hike arrives in April 2011. A narrow escape then for the Chancellor, though not for his next-door neighbour, one Gordon Brown, who makes £190k currently and is therefore in the firing line.

The right reason to buy nothing this weekend

It's hard to argue with campaigners who have dubbed Saturday as Buy Nothing Day. In a lengthy rant against Western consumerism, they urge people to avoid spending cash this weekend as a protest against the materialist society we all too readily support. Worthy stuff, but a better reason to buy nothing on Saturday is the PBR VAT cut doesn't take effect until Monday.

Barclays keeps its new owner happy

Lots of shareholders arrived late to Barclays' extraordinary meeting on Monday complaining of poor transport from central London to the ExCeL centre in Docklands. Barclays normally holds its investor meetings at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster. Apparently that venue was booked, but the change will surely have gained the approval of one of Barclays' new major owners, the Abu Dhabi state, which bought ExCeL London earlier this year.

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