Idiom: taking the biscuit
“One more notch on the belt” I tell myself, faced with a decision between a cake or a biscuit.
Every time I go back to visit the family in North East Derbyshire for Christmas the number of friend’s I also used to catch up with dwindles considerably. At the end of 2010 there were two of us – and between us we got talking about the others. One in particular, who ended up making it to Oxford to study law, was also absent and probably having Christmas in her flat next to Borough Market in London. One of the first cases she worked on was making a decision as to whether Jaffa Cakes were either cakes or biscuits. If they were biscuits they were taxed and if they were cakes they were not. It’s a strange thing to look back on as we enter 2011 with tighter belts facing the VAT increase to 20%.
It’s interesting to consider the particular affects this increase has on artists: materials, equipment, transport and Internet (admin) costs… One salvation is our sustenance (other than art of course) – food, which is not subject to VAT. I guess we could all start eating cakes instead of biscuits but the question is will we begin to acclimatise throughout the following year? And how?
In their article Is the VAT increase regressive? The BBC debates as to whether this new 20% number is progressive (as it avoid rises in national insurance and income tax) or indeed regressive as it “hits the poorest hardest”. Here it is also pertinent to add that working artists and visual artist freelancers could well be some of the lowest paid in the UK: but as far as they’re concerned, being ever the resourceful, is the VAT rise ‘regressive’ or ‘progressive’ in terms of art production?
One thing that comes to mind is that different materials and processes will take hold of art practice to avoid inevitable cost increases – so will we see a more invigorated take on the artistic approach?