All round the UK accountant-type folk were hovering over about-to-be-amended-spreadsheets, waiting for George Osborne to deliver his budget speech. They didn’t have to wait long because the Evening Standard leaked the highlights before the Chancellor had even risen to speak at the despatch box. But Jon Rutter and his team of professional stocktakers had to wait for the full published report before they could start adjusting the formulae they use in the tools of their trade that help customers with careful and sustained planning in the very competitive and demanding industry.
Once the news was out the Campaign to remove the beer duty escalator were over the moon. But those whose choice of tipple is wine or spirits were a bit bleak. The major pubcos and breweries were quick to announce that they would be passing the beer duty cut on to consumers and others like JW Lees would also not be going ahead with previously announced increases.
The wine and spirits trade made noises about the Chancellor’s “unfair and incomprehensible” move and hinted that it could be illegal. They are not happy. And the news that Chancellor George had now “gone Twitter” gave the platform for many to give him the benefit of their views on the budget. Some of the Tweets he received were not terribly complimentary.
Some Tweeters (or are they Twits?) seemed to cast doubt on whether the pubs would really pass on the price drop or use the line “production costs have risen” and keep the price the same. Readers comments in some newspapers also indicated that there was a wave of doubt growing. Perhaps the cynicism they displayed was because they had “heard it all before.” One reader, and he was supported by others, commented “when was the last time any of us bought a drink in a bar and the price didn’t end in a 0 or 5? This 1p will be swallowed up on to the pubco bottom line, not passed on to the consumer.” Only time will tell.
But while the debate on the budget was raging some chefs were contemplating the disturbing case of how they should possibly reconsider making their flapjacks. It seems that triangles are dangerous – well they have sharp corners, don’t they? That’s what the Castle View School in Essex ruled when a child was hit in the eye by a flying flapjack. “Make them square, in future,” the staff were ordered (as if squares DON’T have corners). It would probably be much safer just to scrap it from the menu altogether. Or issue warning notices on menus about the lurking dangers various dishes might harbour. Some dishes might even have to be renamed. But the danger then, is that the customers might not recognize what it is.
Like Tim Coffey in Bath who has been ordered to re-label his product because there’s not enough fat in it (0.2% fat difference, actually). It’s too healthy. It’s not ice-cream, it’s gelato, says the Council. Either rename the shop or advertise gelato – even though it looks and tastes like ice-cream. Passing a shop in Bath called “The-Real-Italian-Gelato-Company” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
Do children really say, “may I have a gelato, please Daddy?”
One wonders whether the cones the non-ice-cream is served in will also be ruled dangerous. Cones have a point at the bottom! Non-lethal. Unless they’re thrown at someone – like at a Council clip-board carrier.