The following is a letter to insidetime, from issue April 2010
In February, the Governor of the Bank of England sent an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer explaining why inflation had hit the dizzy heights of 4%. He was of course able to blame extraordinary circumstances; mainly the increase in fuel costs coupled with VAT going back up from 15% to 17.5%. So how does this apply to prison life?
Well, we recently got new canteen sheets from prison canteen suppliers DHL and imagine my surprise on noting that certain items had gone up by more than 40% - for example Tetley Teabags, which I understand are zero-rated for VAT, have risen from 99p for 40 to £1.39p for the same size bag. It might not sound much when you calculate that each teabag has gone up by just one penny however if, like me, you get through a pack a week this increases your annual spend by £20.80p. Here at Parkhurst working on making pet rugs you earn £8 a week, so this increase of one pence per teabag relieves us of more than two and a half weeks worth of income over a year; thus the DHL monopoly means that if we want to drink tea we just have to grin and bear it.
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