Still talking about VAT

shutterstock_21005455.jpgSod the drop in interest rates, we knew they were coming and anyway, Smarta, like much of the country, still hasn’t got over VAT.While the recession has sparked a number of eyebrow-raising activities on behalf of the middle classes (who could honestly have said this time last year, it would one day be all right to drink Prosecco at dinner parties, as long as it’s from Aldi?), never has a pre-budget report been so much the subject of popular conversation than this year’s.Darling’s unprecedented decision to cut VAT sparked a groan from beleaguered retailers, who grumbled that they have quite enough to worry about, thank you very much, without having to reprice every single item on their shelves; as well as snorts of contention from consumers, many of whom moaned that actually, the cut wasn’t enough.Some retailers, though, have taken the opportunity to turn the smiles of the three or so shoppers expected to grace high streets this before Christmas firmly upside down by turning the cut into, well, a bit of a joke.Not content at having changed its name, brand philosophy and main offering, Pizza – sorry – Pasta Hut is giving Darling a fiscal slap in the face by throwing a ‘VAT-free weekend’, taking 15% off the price customers’ bills, while news has just come in via Chiconomise of Holborn bar and restaurant Pearl, which will be celebrating the Chancellor’s generosity by selling champagne at £15 a bottle – but only for 17.5 minutes after 17.50 until December 17, natch.Smarta is enormously impressed by these retailers’ creativity, and would like to suggest similar methods of protest for other industries: office clock manufacturers producing bendy clocks to help businesses under pressure from the government’s extension to flexible working rights, perhaps? Or even banks giving loans with an interest rate of 2%...?Whoops - sorry, we got ahead of ourselves there.

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