November 24th, 2008

Old Friend

RIP: Bruce Wayne?

Is this really the end of Bruce Wayne? After 70 years of donning the Batsuit and fighting crime is crime finally going to have the last laugh?

(From IMDB News : Death of The Dark Knight? (Monday 24th November 2008)

Batman is set to be killed off after 70 years of crime-fighting - in the comic book which created the cartoon superhero.

Rumours are rife that in the next issue of DC Comics' Batman, published on Thursday, Bruce Wayne will meet a grisly end.

The latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale as Wayne, was a box office smash this year and another film is said to be in the offing - but it appears the comic book equivalent has now run its course.

The Bruce Wayne character is now expected to retire from his duties, perhaps leading to a new Batman or an entirely different superhero to take his place.


VAT Reduction...

So, VAT (Value Added Tax) is falling from 17.5% to 15% on Monday.

I'm not sure what school of economics Gordon brown and Alistair Darling come from but personally I think this will do f**k all. It won't mean the majority of things that you or I buy will be cheaper. It might make expensive luxury items a bit cheaper - but you'll have to go up a long way to actually start saving any money with this VAT cut.

Most stores will probably just ignore the reduction and use it as an extra little bit of profit. We generally have price points that end in .50, .95 or .99 - that's not about to change. Idf it did here are some examples....

£8.99 becomes £8.80
£19.99 becomes £19.56
£24.99 becomes £24.46

Are those reductions actually going to entice you to spend more money where you would have done before? Are the shops really going to throw out their love of .50, .95 or .99 and reprice their entire range of VATable goods to new lower prices with silly endings?

Of course not in both cases.

Even if I went out and brought a new £899.99 computer the savings I'd make between this week and next on the VAT reduction would be  £19.15 (with a new RRP of £880.84). That's hardly about to whet my appetite and get me spending more than I would do anyway!

Even if you wanted to buy a new £20,000 car the difference between this week and next would only be £425.53! Which, ok, is still £425.53 but if you're spending £20,000 on a new car that £425.53 is probably not the deal killer in the first place!

These cuts will not stimulate the economy in the UK. All it will end up doing is meaning cuts in government spending because their not getting as much cash in from VAT. Whilst it's a small cut for us to make it meaningless if you remove that 2.5% from the millions paid in VAT every day to the government it all adds up and that loss has to be covered by something. Personally I'd prefer them to have kept the old VAT rate of 17.5% and kept money invested in education and welfare (for example).

If they really wanted to make an impact - and a more visible one even though it still wouldn't amount to much on a day to day basis for most of us - I'd have cut the income tax rate by 1% or so. Atleast then it would give the impression that everyone was getting a bit more money each month even if it really only amounted to £10 to £25 a month for most people!

So, a bit of a dud from the government today in my opinion. I'll be interested to see how the papers and stock markets feel about it but personally I can't see any of this making a blind bit of difference to anyone apart from companies that will pocket that extra 2.5% they are now making by keeping the prices the same.