A303 Diversion

Apparantly the big news in the Westcountry is that the A303 is to be closed some time early next year, with a 40 mile diversion. The BBC has more details and the Highways Agency press release is also available.

I wondered why neither the HA nor any of the press articles I’d seen bothered publishing a map. While they’re happy to describe an elaborate route in text, it took me less than five minutes to knock this up.

The visual view is – I think – much more explanatory than any text, and it adds instant impact to the article.

VAT Dropped Today

Good morning! It’s just gone 7am and those programmers out there involved in EPOS and e-commerce systems are either sitting smug or are running around trying to get the computers updated before the shops open.

Today’s the day standard rate of VAT (sales tax) drops from 17.5% to 15%, in a move by the Chancellor to encourage spending. Whether it works or not remains to be seen, I’ve heard that many shops are simply keeping prices as-is, and pocketing the slight difference in markup from each sale. Some high-street shops have bizarre “offers” highlighting the VAT drop as the reason but (in one case) “offer ends 3 December”.

In view of all of this number-crunching fun, I’ve produced a handy VAT Check Sheet for download, which allows you to see the VAT difference, new totals and how much shops should be dropping prices. I think the numbers are right but if anybody has any corrections, thoughts or comments I’ll be happy to update.