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At £3.5m, they’re not just teacakes…

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Warning: This post was published more than 9 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

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Many thanks for your understanding.

teacakes.JPGYep, £3,500,000 of taxpayers money – your money – is about to be presented to Marks & Spencers for some teacakes.

You may have thought that teacake expenditure would have decreased now John Prescott is no longer in Government, but there really is a very good reason for the increase.

In 1973, M&S decided to start selling teacakes, and the VAT man decided that they were biscuits, and so insisted on collecting VAT on them. The clue was in the name, really. They’re teacakes, not teabiscuits.

Then, a little over twenty years later, another VAT man realised that the teacakes were, in fact, cakes, and that VAT shouldn’t be collected on them. But between 1973 and 1994, £3.5 million pounds of VAT had been wrongly paid to the Government.

In its infinite wisdom, the government decided that this £3.5m shouldn’t be given back. They reasoned that people had paid for their teacakes, not to give a donation to M&S, and so to give the money back to M&S would be deeply unfair.

So they gave M&S a cursory 10%, and kept the rest for themselves.

Now, a further thirteen years later, the European Court has decided that this was a little unfair, and insisted that the government give the wrongly collected taxes back – costing us all £3.5m.

But then again, they weren’t just teacakes – they were M&S teackes.

This 1,236th post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 4th March 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th February 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 31st December 2016)

I’m coming home (published 2nd January 2012)

Photo-a-day 156: Ward Park (published 4th June 2012)

Outcry over creation of GM smallpox virus (published 22nd January 2005)

Rumsfeld (published 24th September 2004)


Comments and responses

Comment from Jonathan Rothwell


by Jonathan Rothwell

Comment posted at 11:15 on 15th December 2007.

It wasn’t just a government cock-up – it was a Conservative government cock-up.


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


by sjhoward

Comment posted at 21:38 on 16th December 2007.

So true…


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