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People and Business: Boring Budget

PETER BIRCH has been a busy bee since retiring as chief executive of Abbey National last year. Yesterday he joined Travelex, an airport bureaux de change operator, as a non-executive director. He is also a chairman of Trinity, where he is leading the bid talks for Mirror Group Newspapers, as well as chairman of Land Securities.

He actually spends most of his working week at NM Rothschild, he says, where he is a non-exec, while his directorship of Coca-Cola Beverages involves about half a dozen meetings a year. And what did he think of the Budget? "Boring," he declares scornfully.

"Everyone's going around saying how spectacular it was. But when Nigel Lawson cut the top rate of income tax to 40 per cent - now that was exciting."