It’s one of the stranger pieces of legislation, like that one about killing Welshmen after midnight in Chester, or the one about wearing a suit of armour in the Houses of Parliament. Since the Middle Ages members of the building trades have been forbidden from owning a calendar.
‘It really inconveniences our customers’ said Pete, a plasterer from Warrington. ‘I’d love to be able to say “oh yeah, I’ll start the job on the 31st” or whatever, but it’s actually illegal for me to own a calendar so I just say something like “end of the month ok?” and then I get bollocked when I forget a job’.
Campaigners say they’re pleased with the change but it’s a missed opportunity for wider reform. ‘We also want a standard pricing model, said Dave Jenkins of the Customers’ Alliance. ‘Under the current system a tradesman has to recite a poem backwards while examining a chicken’s entrails. It leads to significant disparities in pricing for the same job. Surely, in the twenty first century, we could at least computerise the entrail analysis?’
However, HMG doesn’t support the move to a more modern pricing mechanism, pointing out that ‘If examining chickens' entrails is good enough for the Chancellor, it should be good enough for builders’.