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Business News

Credit crisis diary: Flanders sticks her stake in the ground

Another warning shot from the BBC's economics editor, Stephanie Flanders, to her colleague Robert Peston, the Beeb's business editor, with whom, insiders say, a healthy rivalry is developing. In a less than exacting interview with the London Evening Standard, Flanders makes a point of praising Peston for his coverage of the credit crunch, which she says has been "business centred" until recently. Now, however, "the story is moving on to the real economy", Flanders adds. In other words, "Get off my patch, Robert".

Give that regulator a hand

Ofcom is proud to announce that its staff are taking a pay freeze this year and that executives will not be receiving much in the way of bonuses. It's good to see a public sector organisation taking its share of the economic pain, of course. If Collette Bowe, the telecoms regulator's newly appointed chairman is struggling, we would be happy to organise a whip-round. On only £200,000 a year for a three-day week, it's going to be tough for her to make ends meet.

Odey accuses ministers of monkey business

Good news from Crispin Odey, whose hedge fund made a 27 per cent return in April thanks largely to bets on British banks, which he famously sold short last year. Not that Odey is grateful to the Government for its attempts to prevent a total collapse in the banking sector. "Government has felt and acted like a gorilla in this downturn," Odey tells investors in his latest update on their fund.

Kiwis launch the battle of the butter

This is rapidly becoming a diplomatic incident. Dairy Crest's advertising campaign for its Country Life butter – which points out that rival product Anchor is made in New Zealand – has enraged our antipodean friends. The Federated Farmers of New Zealand accuse Dairy Crest of "protectionism" and "being underhanded". And, by the way, British butter is "pale and insipid", the farmers add.

Thanks, IMF, do pop in again some time

The International Monetary Fund's recent trip to Britain produced a surprisingly upbeat assessment of the UK economy, the body said yesterday, despite some reservations about the Government's forecasts for a strong recovery. Sounds like the folks from the IMF had a good time too. Its lengthy report concludes: "We are grateful for the warm welcome by those we have met during our discussions."