Yesterday I got home to find a letter from Lancaster City Council, the bastards in the title.
It was informing me that I had to pay £45 for 'Second Hand Goods Registration', the tax in the title.
The reason the council are trying to rob me of even more cash is that I have a stall at Morecambe Antiques and Collectables. This is an indoor market where you pay rent, leave your goods on your stall and there is one payment desk where people pay for the goods. It's a great concept enabling people to develop a little sideline or even develop it as part of a bigger venture, but the key is you don't need to be there to sell your stuff. My stall has secondhand books on it and in six months plus, has barely broken even. Things are just picking up a little but it has been more a hobby than anything.
Lancaster City Council recently sent a member of their licensing stasi to snoop there, hence the letter demanding money with menace that I have recived. The menace being that if I don't cough up they will prosecute me. It seems that the Licensing Regulatory Committee agreed this form of theft on 25 March 2004.
As a consequence I have decided there is no point continuing my little venture. OK £45 wouldn't break the bank, but when I'm making no money from it anyway it is a point of principle.
Fair enough it's hardly on the scale of Woolworth's closing down. But it is my very own, very small experience of how the bureaucrats screw up business. And the few people who wanted to pay £1 for one of my quality secondhand books will now be deprived of that opportunity. I shall be taking my stock to a local charity shop.
I've been told that in Lancashire anybody who does two or more car boot sales in a week also has to pay this legalised theft.The licensing stasi tour the car boot sales clocking car registrations. And I thought traffic wardens/police were scum.