Friday, June 15, 2007

Small Business Still Alive- Just

Mrs Goggins never had these problems

Village Counter Talk is a new blog written by a Sub-Postmaster. Weighed down by taxation, strangled by red tape, and threatened by the possible loss of his sub-Post Office, he gives us a picture of life at the small business sharp end.

A recent post simply asks Why does this government hate me? As he says, despite the fact he runs one of those civil-society-building village stores, and he pays all his taxes, and he even collects them for free (VAT and PAYE), the government keeps whacking him over the head. He gives us a run-down of the assault so far this year:

"January 1st that Flint woman changed the rules for selling tobacco (with no thought for the problems this will cause for retailers- see this post).

Then in March the budget pushed Small Business Corporation tax up from 19% to 22% over the next 3 years, when Large Corporates and personal tax were headlined as reductions.

In May they finally told the country that 2,500 Post Offices will close, but because these spineless politicos didn't want to get their hand really dirty, they have given the job of deciding which branches will close to Post Office Ltd. I will not hear if we are safe until some time in the autumn. But every day customers are asking the question.

Then there is the local authority who send more and more questionaires asking what we are doing to comply with the government's latest red tape.

Then there is the failure of the OFT to move on with its enquiry into newspaper and magazine distribution. Or the Competition Commission enquiry into supermarkets which is being overwhelmed by the big spending of ... er... supermarkets. Little guys like me just don't have the same firepower, so I don't expect much to change.

And 2007 is not half way through yet."

Well worth reading as an antidote to all the government's "enterprise Britain" spin.

PS One of life's great pleasures is reading the old fashioned pre-cyber newspapers at the breakfast table while dunking your croissant in the Earl Grey. But why do the papers now come with that great sheaf of junk inserts? The Postmaster gives us some chapter and verse, based on his own newspaper sales. He and other newsagents don't like having to deliver inserts, and some time ago he started recording their weight for the newsagents trade journal. Last Saturday the worst offender was the Times, with a total weight of 1.046Kg, of which no less than 16.25% comprised junk inserts. Not a lot of people know that.

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