Wereinthemoney, England - The Labour government's plan to reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods and services from 17.5% to 15% took effect today with resounding results for the economy. The move to stimulate consumer spending and head off the impending recession by lowering the sales tax seems to have done the job as shoppers filled the high streets and businesses placed record orders with suppliers.
Mrs Indra Cheapa spent two hours in the queue outside Woolworths this morning in Nottingham along with 600 other eager shoppers.
"2.5p may not seem like much," commented Mrs Cheapa, "but it adds up. I bought this plastic Tupperware set for £3.99 and saved 10p. Unfortunately the 10p fell out of my sari and down an uncovered drain on the pavement, but I still feel like I got a good deal."
Woolworths store manager, Itsnon Refundable explained the retailer's position on the VAT reduction.
"Actually, we paid full VAT on all this cheap tat months ago, so we're losing straight away on every sale. Not only that but our computerised accounting system is all messed up because of the change over and the tills are overcharging and undercharging all the time," said an exasperated Ms Refundable. "I expect Woolworths will be bankrupt by the end of the day."
Former London City Boy, Lucien Prick lost his high-flying job with Citicorp two months ago and has been living off his 2007 Christmas bonus ever since.
"Wow, this is great! I have had to cut back on my trips to the massage parlour to relieve my stress for being made redundant because of the credit crunch," explained Prick. "But if I can save £1.25 every time I visit My Thai spa, you can bet they will be seeing a lot more of me there."
"I'm not Christian", explained non-Christian Christian Christianson, from Copenhagen, who flew into London to take advantage of the Oxford Street Christmas sales. "But the 99p I saved on this jumper at Primark paid for my cheap flight from Copenhagen. I may fly over again next week as well."
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced at a press conference outside Number 10½ Downing Street that the economic downturn in Britain has been completely reversed by the lowered VAT policy in a single day.
A jubilant Mr Brown stated, "Mind the pennies" to which Mr Darling added, "and the pounds will take care of themselves."
The Ministry of Defence is also upbeat about the lowered VAT. MoD spokesperson, Lt Col Swagger, explained that the 2.5p savings now means that the MoD can order replacements for its insufficient, substandard and faulty equipment issued to military personnel in armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"You wouldn't think 2.5p would make much of a difference, but it will save hundreds of lives," predicted Lt Col Swagger. "That high VAT was just killing us."
Speaking of which, three people were trampled to death at an ASDA superstore in Reading this morning as crowds stormed the building on the first day of reduced VAT. ASDA, part of the American Wal-Mart family, said a similar incident occurred outside a Wal-Mart store in New York just a few days ago.
"We don't see any connection between these unfortunate deaths and lowered VAT," stated ASDA spokesperson, Mr Every Little, slapping his backside.
"People are falling over themselves worldwide because of our cheap prices. Even so, with our shameless mark-ups, we could lower our prices a hell of a lot more than this measly 2.5p and still make a killing."
Britain's depressed housing market has also seen a phenomenal boost today because of the 2.5p lowered VAT.
Property sales and mortgages are up a resounding 32% in one day. Royal Bank of Scotland, now primarily owned by the government, has led the way in accepting the 2.5p VAT savings from customers as sufficient down payments for mortgages.
When asked how the Royal Bank of Scotland can do such business without risking another sub-prime mortgage fiasco, its chairman, Sir Angus Spendthrift explained.
"It's simple. We teamed up with that no-frills Irish airline. If they can fly people around the world for 99p, then surely we can give them a home for an additional 2.5p." Sir Spendthrift added, "Their home may be in Albania, however, or wherever that fly-by-night airline lands these days."
Across the EU, other countries are closely watching the astounding success of the UK VAT reduction that has put the country into an economic boom in just one day. Several nations are set to follow suit.
France however, has decided to raise its VAT to 47.5% to get its stalled economy moving again. "We know it's a British trick," said Pierre Sans-Souci, casually standing in a long baguette line in Paris. "But we won't fall for it. Not this time."
Monsieur Sans-Souci concluded, "If the government's plan to raise the VAT to 47.5% fails, et alors? We'll go on general strike. Besides, the baguettes all taste the same whether you buy them in a boulangerie or get them in this bread line for free."