If it’s produced in China or subject to the forces of global competition, then it would appear that price pressure is forcing the bottom line downwards. If it’s a service, especially with a distinctly local feel, then inflation still hovers and threatens and bullies us.

Take Council Tax, as an example. According to the Times, a survey of more than 200 authorities has revealed that the average bill is likely to rise by 3.8 percent this year.

But the Times tells us that, in fact, this represents the lowest annual rise since Labour came to power, and that next year it’s likely to see a bigger jump.

Meanwhile, here is some news to shake you up.

Apparently, some people, who wish to communicate with others, do a rather strange thing. They print out their communication, or – even more oddly – on occasion actually hand write it using an implement called a pen. They then put the resulting parchment in a flat paper bag, which they seal using saliva from their tongue. They then place a picture of the queen on this bag, and put it inside a red box.

And now, these unfortunately afflicted individuals are going to have to pay more for their trouble. According to the FT, the Royal Mail wants to up the price of first and second class stamps by 6p.

The FT quoted Adam Crozier, Royal Mail’s chief executive, as saying its “rivals are cream skimming all the profitable mail”, and the changes are required to enable the Royal Mail to be able to compete.

Of course, greater competition is supposed to mean lower prices, but you can see where Mr Crozier is coming from. The Royal Mail has to provide the same service to everyone, regardless of where they are based.

© Investment & Business News 2013