Credit crisis diary: What Ed Richards does in his spare time

Schoolboy giggles at the Ofcom briefing yesterday on the future of public sector broadcasting. Pressed on possible radical options for restructuring the industry, Ofcom boss Ed Richards was asked what he imagined in his wildest dreams while at home. "I do have a few fantasies but none of them involve broadcasting," Richards replied without thinking, before blushing deeply.

Obama puts boot into the red devils

That Barack Obama has certainly hit the ground running. On his first day, he intervened in the Guantanamo trials and also seems to have found time to tell the state-owned insurer AIG not to renew its sponsorship of Manchester United. Still, what else did you expect from a basketball fan?

Check Mervyn's diary and then bet big

Need to make a quick buck (or at least work out when to buy your travel money)? You could do worse than checking the schedule of Mervyn King and then betting on a collapse in the pound. New Star economist Simon Ward points out that every single speech the Bank of Governor has made in recent months has been accompanied – a matter of coincidence, we assume – by a one-day sell-off of sterling.

The taxman says no

HM Revenue & Customs doesn't miss a trick. After a spate of base rate cuts from the Bank of England, it has decided to cut the interest rate it pays on tax it has over-collected. From now on, the rate will be zero. That's right, while even the most tinpot little bank account pays interest on deposits – and with base rates at 1.5 per cent – HMRC has decided not to pay a penny of interest on overpaid tax.

Celebrating the right action heroes

Character Group is excited about its new range of toy soldiers, "which has the potential to fill the void caused by the current lack of authentic military-inspired toys in the action toy figure market". The toy company has been working with the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces "to create an inspirational range that portrays the correct ethos of its constituent services". Let's hope they didn't consult Prince Harry.

U-turn at the tills

Sainsbury's staff were delighted to hear Justin King saying he had no plans for job losses when unveiling the supermarket's results a fortnight or so ago. So yesterday's announcement of 300 job cuts must have been quite a shock.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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