The increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20% has come at a very bad time.
The economic crisis is already putting pressure on many families, and another price rise is the last thing we need at this time.
The Goverment has defended the rise, claiming it will bring in much needed funds to the Treasury. However, there is something they are not telling you.
At the beginning of 2010 I warned that an EU directive - debated in parliament in December 2009 - would lead the way to VAT harmonisation at 20% across the EU. This has been a dream of the EU for some time, and they are now on the way to achieving it. European VAT rules are much stricter than ours, discourage enterprise, and are particularly damaging to self-employed workers. There is more harmonisation to come in this area I am afraid.
A parliamentary report landed on my desk this week concerning the recent extension of maternity leave.
The report admits now that research shows that extended leave periods do have a negative effect on the long-tern earning potential of women.
And so at the dawn of 2011, it appears that EU law is going to hinder, not help, our economic recovery.