On going into the TPA's local newsagent today, I was confronted first by this sign, and then by a very apologetic shopkeeper. It is signs like this, cropping up across the country, that go a long way towards explaining the reason taxation and Government spending are so high on people's agenda at the moment.
For a start, if my local newsagent's prices are going up, I personally have less disposable income and thus resent it even more when I pay a heavy tax bill, much of which is then squandered. For shopkeepers and other business owners it is particularly worrying, as their customers decide which purchases to continue with and which ones to ditch.
Most grating, though, is the fact that whilst the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and a host of other Government figures parrot the line that they are a bold team, helping the nation through difficult economic conditions that are in no way their fault, in fact they can do something to help - they just refuse to.
Read again the poster above. What are the stated pressures the shop is under?
Both of which can be reduced at the whim of the Mayor of London and the Government. Fuel duty makes up the majority of the price of fuel at the pumps, and given the fact that the Treasury is getting a windfall from high oil prices boosting their income for the North Sea fields, they are currently having their cake and eating it.
The "manufacturer and distributor increases" will undoubtedly be largely due to the high price of fuel as well - particularly for distribution and delivery into Central London, where the congestion charge hits as well.
The fact is, whilst some of the problems we are all suffering at the moment are indeed out of the Government's control, there are ways they can ease the credit crunch, put some money back into people's pockets and boost confidence on the high street. Cutting fuel duty, for example, would not only help motorists, it would help all of us out - it's worth remembering that even if you don't own a car, most of the things you buy have the cost of the delivery lorry's fuel as part of the price.
The Government are rightly getting a lot of flak at the moment for the economic conditions, the massive tax burden and the serial failures of public services. They would do well to remember that as well as helping me and my local newsagent by cutting taxes, they would be helping to take some of the pressure off themselves. Whether they do the right thing for self-interest or for the public and economic good, here's hoping they do it soon.