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Daydreams in the pie shop

A few of us were standing in the queue at our local Greggs, waiting for the pasties to cool so we could avoid paying VAT on our lunches. This was not a waste of our time - we used it to consider where we could buy a pair of jerrycans and how much we would need to fork out to enjoy supper with our local councillors in an attempt to change policy on pothole repairs.

The discussion then got around to the government’s insistence that it’s unfair for workers doing the same job in different parts of the country to receive the same rates of pay, and the coalition’s contention that public sector workers are better off and have better conditions than workers in private companies.

Pasties will now be served cold for working class folk, and hot for the wealthy.
Photo: David Johnson

So what is it they are going to do? Well, one wag suggested that MPs in the north will be paid less than those in the south; that would also apply to judges, civil servants and any other government-appointed jobsworths. But it might not be all bad news - he had heard that a raft of measures to mitigate the cuts will be put into place. These may include 20% off all rail fares in the north and Scotland, workers’ ticket prices introduced for football matches played north of Watford Gap, 50p a pint off all beer and £1 off each packet of cigs. Bookmakers will offer complimentary £5 bets on Mondays and Thursdays while the first card in bingo halls will be free on every third Wednesday during leap years. wag suggested that MPs in the north will be paid less than those in the south...

At this point the chap in front pointed out that fairness seems to be the watchword here so where, he asked, do we stand on the new pension ages? How can it be fair for all workers to have the same conditions, pointing out the unfairness of treating a platelayer - who’d worked nights doing mid-winter renewals into his 60s - the same as an office worker?

A chap with a briefcase insisted that it was a relief. The very highest earners - who had bigger increases built into pay negotiations to mitigate the high tax rates that otherwise might induce them to move abroad - have now had the 50% rate lowered to 45%, saving them thousands of pounds per year. Meanwhile the rest of us wait for our pasties to cool, saving a few pence on our lunches.

Our musings were interrupted by a ping. “Your pasties have now been de-heated”, announced the assistant. With reality rebooted, we grabbed our food and scuttled off to the Post Office to stockpile on Second Class stamps in time for Christmas.

Story added 1st April 2012

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