Credit crisis diary: The real reason for soaring energy prices

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Rising oil and gas prices may not be entirely to blame for ever-more expensive utility bills. Recruitment consultancy GRS says bank workers with expertise in areas such as risk, tax and legal are jumping ship en masse to the energy sector. And guess which bit of banking culture they've brought with them? You've guessed it – bonuses in the energy industry are at record levels, averaging above 20 per cent of base salary.

What goes around comes around, Monsieur

Poor old Nicolas Sarkozy. Still smarting from seeing Gordon Brown take international plaudits for a banking bailout plan the French President has been telling friends he thought of first, Sarkozy's plans for regular EU summits on the economy have now been snubbed by the Eurobloc's finance ministers. While Sarkozy insists his suggestion is not meant to undermine the European Central Bank, diplomats across the continent have been lining up to remind their politician bosses of the attacks launched by France on the ECB's interest-rate policy when it took over the EU presidency in July.

Has anyone actually seen a TV detector van?

A refusal that tells its own story: the BBC has succeeded in its application not to respond to a freedom of information request for details of its fleet of TV licence detector vans on the grounds that doing so might damage the public's perception of the effectiveness of said vehicles. Tax dodgers can presumably sleep a little easier.

Mysterious ways

God's own county? If so, you'd think he might have tipped off the good people of Yorkshire about the credit crunch in advance. But he clearly forgot to talk to local building society bosses. Skipton's alliance with Scarborough this week follows hard on the heels of Yorkshire BS subsuming Barnsley – and while both deals were billed as mergers they are in reality cases of large societies bailing out the minnows. Whatever happened to the conservatism and prudence for which the tykes are renowned?

Profiting from their own mistakes

One of the consequences of the latest data security breach – the case of the Department for Work and Pensions memory stick left in a pub car park – may be that everyone's password for the Government's online system has to be changed. For taxpayers whose only contact with this system is filing their tax return at the last minute, this may come as a shock. And since it takes days to get a new password, they may even miss the self-assessment deadlines as a result, copping a £100 fine. A handy windfall for the Treasury.