Thursday, 29 March 2012

Sometimes you really wonder if there's a grown up left running the country and this last ten days has been one of those moments with me. Take taxation for instance, in the UK the tax book is biggest anywhere in the Western World with so many exceptions that even the Tax Inspectors don't really understand it never mind people such as business men and women who are told ignorance is no defence.
Mr Osbourne, the UK's Finance Minister decided there were a number of inconstant rulings and loop holes in Value Added tax, the tax that is levied on goods and services ever since the UK joined the then Common Market (the current European Union) and announced a number of measures to deal with them. It also helped he'd get some money from it too.
One revolves around food. In the UK if you buy food from a place providing an eating experience such as a restaurant you pay the tax (VAT) on your bill. If you buy food from a place that runs a 'take away' service such as a Fish and Chip shop or Chinese takeaway to eat at home then that attracts VAT too.
Until now if you went to say a bakery and bought a cake, pie or sausage roll you didn't and it was this he decided to change. In essence he's saying if it is hot compared to 'ambient temperature' then this counts as cooked so should be liable.
The problem lies in comparing a freshly baked pie to a roast chicken isn't a meaningful one in that the chicken comes as a chicken and is roasted being sold as a roast chicken, which is a service that adds value to the product.
A freshly baked pie has to be prepared from scratch and baked to become a pie so people can buy it, period.
It follows then that the only way of making a distinction is through the temperature which will mean testing each batch before being placed for sale and offering 'cold' and 'hot' for each product.
And this is from a government into reducing red tape???
It's easy to accept the idea that offering to 'warm' a product for a customer to consume immediately is a VAT liable service as would say putting seating by or in your shop for patrons could be seen as 'proof' you were a 'takeaway'.
And it gets worse.
To beat the potential of a oil tanker driver strike, Ministers called for people to fully fill their gasoline tanks (many run with a third of a tank in) and better still to fill cans with fuel just in case'.
The result was predictable - a run on gas at the pumps leading to a good number being out of fuel and severe criticism from fire fighters for the dangers posed by people stockpiling gasoline at home in confined spaces.
If they had to say anything, it would of made more sense to have called on the Trades Union (UNITE) and the Employers to attend talks with the arbitration service ACAS who had offered to step in to facilitate an resolution of the issues between them.

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