Pembroke: Big hole in the training budget

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The Independent Online
About pounds 750,000 is missing from Allied Dunbar's conventions budget, which pays for all the jollies (sorry, training sessions and conferences) enjoyed by its salespeople. While staff ponder the thought of seminars in less exotic locations, Wiltshire police are poring over the department's books dating back several years.

Police were brought in after an internal audit, and one employee has been dismissed. 'We hear they keep discovering that more and more money is missing. Our budget is only pounds 3m a year,' was the plaintive cry from one employee.

Pity Nigerian Airways. The carrier has had an A310 Airbus impounded at Heathrow for non-payment of overflying charges and parking fees. Flights from London to Lagos have been suspended.

'It often happens around the world,' an airport official said. 'The airline owes foreign creditors loads of money and its planes are frequently seized until it pays up.'

Howard Hyman, who left Price Waterhouse's corporate finance department last week for merchant bank Charterhouse, has not always been as keen on his new profession.

Three years ago he told the Financial Times: 'We are still stuck with the ridiculous snobbery and charisma of the merchant banks. Even if companies get incredibly bad advice they still go to a merchant bank. Really, I think the banks should leave our business alone.'

Keen-eyed hacks at the beancounters' weekly, Accountancy Age, asked Mr Hyman what he made of this statement three years on. 'Things have changed a lot since then,' was the reply.

The Make a Wish Foundation, a charity that makes wishes come true for disadvantaged children, has run into problems looking for a City PR firm to help it raise money. A man from the foundation rang a leading PR consultancy, saying that according to the Public Relations Consultants Association they were experts in charity PR.

The perplexed spin doctor explained that they had never done any charity work. At which the charity chap explained that he had got a similar negative response from two other agencies also recommended for their non-existent charity expertise by the PRCA.

The PRCA, in a recent brochure championing its services, says: 'Using our computerised referral system we can exactly match your needs with their skills.'

Worms, the gardeners' friend, have not always found favour with golfers. They burrow just below the surface of the green, causing bumps. Things have got worse since chlordane, used to discourage the critturs, was banned on two years ago.

Now the Royal & Ancient Golf Club is giving pounds 10,000 a year to the Sports Turf Research Institute at Bingley, West Yorkshire, to come up with an alternative. Various potions will be tested along with mustard and curry powder, the latter apparently used as an effective remedy many decades ago.

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