Over at AIG, the new spirit of parsimony continues. As Insurance Times revealed a few weeks ago, the insurance giant cancelled its Christmas revels after the US government – its de facto owner – criticised taxpayer-financed corporate jollies.

As if that weren’t enough of a blow for staff left wondering how they are supposed to corner their office crush under the mistletoe, another social gathering has fallen foul of the cost cutters. Backchat hears that AIG cancelled its tables at the Leicester Chartered Insurance Institute’s annual dinner last week. Where will it end?