Right after I moved to Tamworth in December, signs were up in all the shops telling you to "buy before the VAT increase," or some variation of it. After a couple weeks I decided to actually look up what VAT meant.
Value Added Tax. As best I can tell it's a flat rate tax on most goods and services purchased. It's what Americans call a sales tax.
I have a good history of experienced hatred for the sales tax in America. Not that I don't understand what it's for or the good it does for each specific city, but Chicago really ruined for me. Right after I moved to Chicago in 2005, the sales tax jumped to 10.5%. To give you an idea, the Indiana sales tax was a mere 6% (approximately). Smaller goods is one thing, but when you're buying an air conditioning unit for $200, that's not just $20 in tax I have to pay, but also $8 more than I would pay if I just bought the damn thing in Indiana. Oh the price of staying cool!
But then I moved here, and suddenly, the 10.5% Chicago tax would be a welcomed old friend. I might even share a beer with it. For England's Value Added Tax just increased to 20%. Back to perspective, to buy the same AC unit in England, it would cost the American equivalent of $240. This might be why no one has AC units in England.
When I asked Jim why this was so high he said it's because of the NHS. And for those of you not great with alliteration, the National Healthcare System is just that....and it's free. The VAT is sort of like premiums all rolled into every purchase you make. And then some.
So what I do get to look forward to is HMO-like doctor's visits...and it's already paid for. Oi.