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Business News

Credit crisis diary: No fun if you're with a nationalised bank

To Twickenham, courtesy of Royal Bank of Scotland, for England v France. There was a time when one could depend on RBS for some decent hospitality – a three-course lunch before the game, a free bar and so on. Not any more. So determined is RBS to appear frugal now it's owned by the taxpayer that guests at the match were told to meet at the gate 15 minutes before kick-off – and very much expected to buy their own drinks.

The latest word from the man who knows

Just where does Vince Cable find the time? He spends every waking minute ensuring that his reputation as the only politician who understands the credit crunch goes unsullied. And now he's penned a book, too. The Storm: The World Economic Crisis and What it Means will be available in all good bookshops soon. Presumably what it means is more kudos for Vince.

The stock market explained in all its glory

Wondering how the stock market will perform each day? Sign up to market analysis and updates from David Buik, the noisy commentator at BGC Partners, and you'll get good, old-fashioned plain speaking. Yesterday's verdict on the prospects for markets was a typical example. "Bulls are rampant, horny and very much up for it," the excitable Buik told the punters.

A dispassionate view on cheap booze

Public policy wonks wondering whether or not to support the idea of a minimum price for alcohol might want to take a look at a piece of research on the topic. A Centre for Economics and Business Research paper reckons a legal minimum would cost consumers as much as £1.8bn a year, while only reaping £200m of savings on public health budgets. There can be no suggestion that this conclusion was at all influenced by the identity of the company which commissioned the research, the brewing giant SABMiller.

Can't buy me love

Romance is one of the first victims of a recession. Figures published yesterday charting online retail spending for February showed a marked decline in the amount spent on gift items, with spending on lingerie apparently hit particularly hard. In other words, blokes were too mean (or skint) to buy decent Valentine's Day presents this year.