MT's week in 60 seconds

The best of this week's business news: inflation pains, retail gains and taking time in loo.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

In a week when a Labour minister demanded to know why we were all so bloody miserable, the business pages contained plenty of clues. Inflation hasn’t been such a hot topic since the last Blow-Up Doll Convention in Vegas; as the Bank of England was forced to write to Alistair Darling to explain why CPI is so far above its 2% target, the papers were full of gloomy predictions from economists.

And the sub-prime fallout continues: Barclays became the latest bank to seek extra funding, housebuilders saw their share prices battered and British AIG boss Martin Sullivan found himself out of a job (as did Woolies boss Trevor Bish-Jones, though his problems are rather more long-standing). Things must be bad: even the CBI is telling us to cheer up

But not everyone’s suffering; high street retailers enjoyed their biggest sales jump since records began as Britain basked in a mini-heatwave (although Primark was feeling the heat for different reasons, after some of its clothes turned out be made by children). Vets were also in the pink; apparently they make a better return than any other small business, thanks to the money we’re prepared to lavish on our pampered pooches. And New Hall Cambridge was glowing with (possibly misplaced) pride after securing a £30m donation – it’ll now become Murray Edwards College. Charming.

Hayfever sufferers have also been deserving of our sympathy this week, as the pollen count hit record levels, causing hangover-like symptoms for the afflicted (or at least, that’s our excuse and we’re sticking to it). And spare a thought for business travellers: not only do they have to make do with a night in the Premier Inn in these straitened times, but privacy is now so hard to come by that some of them have been reduced to working in public toilets – and even then someone’s probably ear-wigging.

It's a hard life - unless perhaps you’re a Labour minister...

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