Credit crisis diary: No mortgage rate cuts here folks

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The Independent Online

The politicians may say they will bring the banks to book, but don't hold your breath if you're expecting your mortgage repayments to plummet following today's expected base rate cut. Prior to every base rate decision, the Council of Mortgage Lenders issues journalists with a ready reckoner that shows how interest rate changes affect monthly repayments. Yesterday, it said it wasn't bothering this month, as it didn't want to mislead people. That doesn't bode well.

Probably best to give Vince a miss

A special plea from the British Hairdressers Association, which says that, in these difficult economic times, a cut in VAT on haircuts would really do its members a favour. The BHA has written to the Chancellor pleading its case and also sent missives to the shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, and the LibDems Treasury spokesman, Vince Cable. It's possible that the latter, who to put it politely is a tad folically challenged, may be the least sympathethic.

Where the champagne corks won't be flying

It's been a difficult year for bankers, so they can be forgiven for kicking back and enjoying the largesse of the sponsors of the various industry award nights, which generally take place in Park Lane's finest hotels. No such luck for the winners of Financial News's Investment Banking gongs, however. It's not holding a ceremony this year and has instead simply emailed round a list of the winners.

News just in: there's been a credit crunch

And people say credit ratings agencies are slow to catch on to what's really happening in the big bad world. Yesterday's market update from Coface, a ratings agency that provides risk management services, included this gem: "Coface confirms that a global credit crisis has been running since January 2008". You don't say. Oh, and by the way, Coface is downgrading its rating of Iceland.

Only 11 years behind the times

There was no shortage of companies jumping on the Obama bandwagon yesterday. But perhaps the financial spread betting company Choice Odds needs to think a little less about its marketing and a little more about the basics. "The Treasury needs a 'yes we must' attitude to cutting rates", it said, playing on the President-elect's campaigning slogan. Oops chaps, the Treasury gave the Bank of England interest rate independence in 1997.