WHAT’S this? George Osborne is moving on from the Treasury to become a relationship director in the Finance and Brokers team at Barclays Corporate?

“Osborne’s role will include managing a portfolio of mid to large-size finance and broker clients, and working with the credit team to ensure the effective risk management of these clients,” declared the bank. “He will also develop new relationships within the market.”

It’s not George Osborne the chancellor, though; it’s his namesake George Osborne the ex-soldier, who is joining the City after seven years in the British Army, where he was most recently “adjutant, regimental signals officer and platoon commander”.

George “no plan B” Osborne, readers will be relieved to know, was yesterday addressing MPs on the state of the economy in the recalled Parliament – for which he flew back early from his family holiday at the Mr C Beverley Hills in LA, the latest luxury hotel from the Cipriani family. “It seems sensible to give an update to Parliament given what is going on in the financial markets globally,” supplied a helpful Treasury source.

MEANWHILE, Sarkozy is the latest politician to abandon his summer vacation, jetting back from the French Riviera as France is rocked by downgrade fears and Societe Generale chief executive Frederic Oudea fights rumours his bank is going to the wall.

But Alexandra Coote, a senior sales trader at CityIndex, never even left the country, after her long-planned break in Florida – where she was being taken to stay at a private villa as a thirtieth birthday present from her mum – was cancelled as the markets crashed.

The holiday will be refunded in full by CityIndex – and Coote’s leave will be reallocated later in the year.

Still, sitting at a computer watching little red numbers spiral downwards is no substitute for two weeks drinking cocktails and hitting the shops in Miami…

SPOTTED on the way to the hospitality tent at Edgbaston: Liz Hurley, who showed she is not too Warne out to watch cricket when she turned up to watch the third Test between England and Edgbaston.

“We can’t confirm whether Liz signed up for a Sportingbet account,” said Richard Clark, head of cricket at the betting firm. “But we’re sure she’d make the most of our free bet bonus if she did with the sort of tips she could get from her other half Shane Warne.”

TIMES are hard at Platt Morgan & Partners – so hard that the financial adviser is using a specialist people tracing firm to help track down its former clients.

Each month, the Merseyside-based company – a subsidiary of wealth manager St James’s Place – sends the people tracing business Finder Monkey a list of “hundreds” of the last-known contacts for people it once sold financial services to, paying £8 for an up-to-date telephone number and £20 for a current address.

“It is much easier to build up services with an existing client than to bring in new business through the door,” said Finder Monkey’s John Arko (pictured below, on the left with his co-director Ryan Shaw). And the company’s most lucrative client? The Church of the Latter-day Saints, which is hoping to win back lapsed members of its congregation.

AN AUDACIOUS sales pitch from Gary Summers, the chief executive and founder of construction company Alumnet, in an attempt to flog his $8m villa in Barbados.

“The Caribbean islands keep confounding doom-mongers, who predict knock-on effects when the US property market dips. But no matter what happens in the rest of the world the Caribbean remains a strong place to invest in property – there hasn’t been a recession there for decades,” assures Mr Summers in a well-timed press release.

No coincidence that the business tycoon, who has diversified his construction interests by investing in property in the Caribbean and Brazil, needs a buyer for his home on the platinum coast of Barbados – a palatial villa overlooking Sir Cliff Richard’s island estate that counts Tiger Woods, Cilla Black and Simon Cowell as neighbours.

Seven bedrooms with marble floors throughout, vast outdoor terraces and a “super-modern kitchen and staff quarters”, all covering an area of 8,000 square feet, if you’re interested. But hurry, because “Mr Summers has no doubt that his splendid villa will be snapped up soon.” Although he would say that.