In two very different and contradictory reactions to recession, VAT (sales tax) has been adjusted in opposite directions in the two economic jurisdictions on the Island of Ireland.
The government of the Republic of Ireland increased the standard rate of VAT at midnight just past from 21% to 21.5% in an attempt to boost national exchequer finances.
In Northern Ireland, however, at the exact same moment the standard rate of VAT has fallen from 17.5% to 15% in an attempt by the government of the United Kingdom to stimulate economic activity in the face of declining output. The UK move is a temporary move for 13 months until the end of 2009.
Combined with a weakened UK£, the moves make Northern Ireland an extremely attractive destination for tourists and day-trippers alike.