As if last week’s “report” by the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance – in reality a confused piece of euro-bashing featuring a raft of dodgy figures – was not bad enough, the group has now gone one better with another “report”, this time bemoaning the tax payable on some of the goods a typical family might buy at Christmas.
Yes, the TPA, through its so-called “research fellow” Mike Denham (aka Wat Tyler) have belatedly discovered that duty is payable on alcohol and fuel, and that VAT is levied on a range of non-essential goods. Nothing gets past our Mike. You can see the “Christmas Tax” report HERE [.pdf]. Mercifully, it is only three pages long.
And a look through the “report” shows the usual TPA level of accuracy and detail: Page 2 has “According to TPA calculations” (no detail, no cite, therefore worthless), “We estimate ...” on VAT (ditto), and “We estimate ...” on excise duties (ditto again). The table on Page 1 pricing various “Christmas ‘Essentials’” is equally weak.
Consider these four items on the TPA list, along with prices:
Moet & Chandon champagne 28.99
6’ Christmas tree 45.00
Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry 8.00
Quality Street family tin 10.00
And now consider what Sainsbury’s would charge for the same items:
Moet & Chandon champagne 23.99
6’ Christmas tree 24.99
Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry 6.00
Quality Street family tin 5.00
So there’s one very easy way for families to lower the financial burden of Christmas, and that’s to shop at the kind of outlet, and at the kind of prices, that exist in the real world.
And there’s something about the TPA comparison with 2008 – they claim an increase in the “Tax on Christmas” of 40% since then – which their “report” misses out. Fortunately, Denham’s own blog gives the game away: “... 2008 coming immediately after the Lehman crisis” he admits.
So that’s another TPA “report” based on skewed comparisons, dodgy “calculations”, and inflated prices. No change there, then.