Axe the Tax!


As if increased postage rates and tax on pasties weren’t enough–there seems to be no letting up from the British government in taxing us for every other ‘luxury’.  In case you haven’t heard, on 1 April, 2012, an eight percent hike in Air Passenger Duty (APD) was added to the cost of flights taking off from UK airports.

Rumour has it that there may also be another increase for 2013. Will they ever stop?!  It would be less frustrating if the tax was going toward green initiatives, but it’s not!

As with the absurd pasty tax, the APD impacts those on lower incomes hardest–the most price-sensitive travellers who might fly with airlines like Ryanair or easyJet. That said, things may not appear as bad as some news headlines might have you believe. For example, the impact on your ticket is negligible if booking short-haul flights from the UK in economy (up by £1 to £13).

APD and fuel surcharges alone are not going to stop Brits from flying.  However, socio-political issues, threats of terrorism, natural disasters and fluctuating exchange rates may change where we choose to holiday.  Once favourite destinations, like MoroccoKenya, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, and the Maldives seem to have lost their appeal.

Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain set to be popular in 2012 according to a survey by TravelSupermarket, which interviewed 5000 British adults on their holiday plans for this year.  The ‘staycation’ is also top on many holidaymakers’ lists.

The Truth is Out: Pasties and Petrol

As much as I can’t stand politics, all the media mayhem over petrol and pasties is so ludicrous that it’s hard not to follow just for pure entertainment.  Last week the nation was rocked by three major crisis, a false petrol shortage, an increase in the cost of stamps, and most outrageous–a proposed VAT on pasties (which could possibly lead to a bakers’ march).

All the controversy over pasties doesn’t end there.  In fact, it gets better! Never mind the lies that David Cameron told about having a pasty at the West Cornwall Pasty Company.  Our trusted friends at the Daily Mail have discovered that the PM indeed sampled some Greggs treats when visiting the bakery last year, but it was in fact a sausage roll, not a pasty.  Pastry, pasty, all the same when sold warm – all VATable.

But one question still remains, as I asked before, how warm is warm? I scoured the internet for the most simplified answer and forgive me for quoting the DM twice in one post, but I couldn’t have put it any better. If the pie is hotter than what the ‘ambient temperature’ is in relation to the food,you’ll pay VAT at 20%. “Cold or lukewarm and you grab a bargain, cheat the taxman – and maybe get a free dose of food poisoning.” Well said, Paul Harris!

Truth be told, what this nonsense about pasties and scaring people into hoarding ‘jerry cans’ of spare petrol (I think I even read somewhere that a woman in York suffered 40% burns when pouring petrol into a jug in her kitchen with the gas cooker on) really highlights is how out of touch the current government is with the people. I’m not sure what the Labour lot were trying to prove when they decided to jump on the pasty bandwagon, but to be fair, you can’t fault David Cameron for having a privileged upbringing. He had no say in it, really. But there certainly is a huge gap between Tory politics and what the people need.