VAT - Valentine's Added Tax

I hardly need Stephanie Lowe, BT's Home editor, to tell me that just like train tickets, tax and the price of petrol, the cost of romance is on the rise. I have already booked a three course Valentine's Day meal tonight for my loved one at our local bistro and it's £40 each, without drinks. Yet last week we had a meal prepared by top TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson at £45 per head, including wine and champagne on arrival.

So dating today could leave an unnecessary dent in the wallet, according to findings published at the start of the week by online dating service Research has found that the price of many so-called Valentine’s essentials such as dining out, flowers and chocolates increase on the days leading up to today.

Eating out is one of the biggest casualties of this VAT - Valentine’s Added Tax - with’s research showing that average restaurant prices increase by 35% on Valentine’s Day compared to a normal night. Most chains and independent restaurants also offer only special set menus and specified seating times, meaning consumers get less for their money. But wining and dining isn’t the only area where we will get stung today.

Prices for a delivery of a dozen red roses were on average 58% higher on February 14, while chocolates increased by a more manageable 1%.

So, if you’re single stay in is the message from - there are 364 better days each year on which to date. “Valentine’s Added Tax is yet another reason for daters to leave February 14 to couples. Singles have the whole of the rest of the year to go dating, so why pick the most expensive night to go out?” said Kate Taylor, relationship expert at “Valentine’s Day and everything that goes along with it can put a lot of unwanted pressure on singles''.

“If you’re not a fan of February 14 you’d be better off using the time to meet like-minded singles online. Remember, there are 364 other, better days to date than Valentine’s Day.”

Good advice - but for couples, it's a meal tonight at the local eatery with a bottle of champagne, but not until you've exchanged gifts, opened cards and put her dozen red roses in water!


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