Waste-busting committee hits the road for Britain; City Diary

The MPs investigating the sacking of former Stock Exchange boss Michael Lawrence have been stern critics of incompetence wherever they find it. The Treasury and Civil Service Committee also have a reputation for criticising money-wasting ideas. How strange then that they are planning two overseas trips, the first in June to Washington and New York, in order to see how the Americans run their stock exchanges. As committee chairman Sir Thomas Arnold, Conservative member for Hazel Grove, puts it: "The Americans are way ahead of us." The second trip, planned for the autumn, will take the MPs to Paris and Frankfurt. It is not yet clear which members of the committee will be lucky enough to go on the junkets. Will Brian Sedgemore, Labour member for Hackney and Shoreditch and scourge of the Bank of England, be packing his bags? Nicholas Budgen, Conservative member for Wolverhampton South-west, told Mr Lawrence when he appeared before the committee that it had "as much a right to investigate the sacking of Stock Exchange cleaning staff" as it did of him. Indeed, said Mr Budgen, the whole investigation was a "waste of time and money". He says now that while he has heard about the trips, "I honestly haven't thought about them." Hmm.

Sir Richard Greenbury, the chairman of Marks & Spencer, always has something interesting to say, whether about his company's annual results or corporate governance. But his views on bra sizes may still come as a surprise.

M&S has been recruiting extra staff in certain areas to meet demand, such as people to advise on men's suits and home furnishings. Another area is bras. Sir Richard tells us that between 1,000 to 1,500 women a week seek advice on bra measurements from M&S. In an attack of political incorrectness, the chairman says: "Forgive me, but I do find it strange that women need that kind of help."

Everybody's doing it. Accountants Price Waterhouse and Ernst & Young now have the final all-clear to move offshore and register as limited- liability partnerships in Jersey. This protects them against many of the spiralling professional indemnity claims that are now in vogue. The firms even helped Jersey to draft the laws under which they are now registered.

The US investment bank Goldman Sachs has done the American equivalent, for similar reasons, by re-registering in the state of Delaware.

Big UK law firms like Linklaters & Paines are considering their own stampede to Jersey - a nice little earner for the island, which charges a pounds 10,000 registration fee per firm.

A senior PW partner recalls the accountants' plan last December to fly to Jersey to wine and dine the island's officials, in order to thank them for providing them with such an agreeable legal framework. On the morning of the flight Heathrow was fog-bound. Showing their true ability as problem- solvers, PW chartered the last plane out of town and made lunch with minutes to spare.

John Major's threat of non-cooperation with European Union treaties may win plaudits from little Englanders, but it has drawn a howl of protest from UK corporate recovery professionals. The first casualty of the boycott will be the EU Bankruptcy Convention, due to be signed on Thursday. The convention has taken more than a quarter of a century to negotiate. A senior reciever says: "This is adding Mad Ministers to Mad Cow Disease."

Lawyers were practically blinking back tears last night as they saw their final triumph, a code that will save jobs on a Continental scale, being snatched from them at the last minute. Most large companies now have extensive overseas operations, yet agreements on how to handle cross-border insolvencies are thin on the ground. When the UK-based Lancer Boss forklift truck business went bust and a receiver was appointed, a minor German lawyer took over the German operation and nearly scuppered the whole rescue operation, endangering hundreds of jobs. The Bankruptcy Convention would never have allowed this problem to arise. Never mind. I'm sure the Government knows what it's doing.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?