Saturday, January 08, 2011

Consumer Affairs 1 – Leeds City Council

Re my suspicions re the pool length at Armley Leisure Centre, you’ll have to wait for that...

Anyway, I went there yesterday (though the snow by the way). It cost £3.20 for a swim with a ‘Leedscard’ not long ago. Then it went up to £3.50. I wish I could remember when that happened – I’ve come to the conclusion that if you want to track price increases the only way to do it is to write them down at the time, as organisations (even the ones you pay for like Councils) won’t be keen on telling you. First Bus for example told me that there was no graph of their prices against inflation – yeah right!

Anyway, thing is that today the cost of swimming had gone up from £3.50 to £3.80 – that’s with a Leedscard – it’s more without. The person on reception said it had gone up ‘due to the VAT increase’. I accepted this for a minute until I worked out that an extra 2 ½ % on £3.50 was less than 9p – so an increase to £3.60 would be reasonable. They’ve added an additional inflation busting 5 ½ % increase. Mind you, people in Armley are loaded... (erm, no...that’s a joke).

So are Leeds City Council sneaking through increases hiding behind the excuse of VAT? It would seem so. If they were planning an increase anyway (I wonder if they’d try that one on?) they could have postponed it (or even brought it forward!) so it didn’t coincide with the VAT increase.

By the way, I checked the prices on a list on their website. They call the price list “Sports centre charges - Key Benchmark Prices”. Yow! ‘Key benchmark prices’. Priceless...

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