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Government is not the community

Local government wants to tax supermarkets where most people buy their food in the UK because:

In its submission, the council says that while supermarkets bring some benefits, they have an overall detrimental impact on the sustainability of local communities. “Research has shown that 95% of all the money spent in any large supermarket leaves the local economy for good, compared to just 50% from local independent retailers; this levy is a modest attempt to ensure more of that money re-circulates within and continues to contribute to local jobs and local trade,” its report states.

So apparently providing food to a community brings ‘some benefits’. Who knew?

The whole idea is based on a central fallacy: Increasing tax taken means “putting money back in the community”.

Government is not “the community”. The give-away phrase: “We’ll be able to improve public services.” In other words, we will increase the size of the state and increase the cost of food to the actual local community, which are the people who shop at the supermarket. Oh great.

23 comments to Government is not the community

  • John B

    The other killer phrase… ‘research has shown’.. ‘research’ can show whatever the researchers or those commissioning the research want to be shown.

    If 95% of money spent in supermarkets ‘leaves the area’ that means only 5% is going on wages, locally sourced goods and services, business rates. Does that sound right?

    And since supermarkets bring in goods from far and wide which little shops on High Street do not, perhaps it is little wonder that the latter send less money out of the area.

    But then what of the value added for the consumer?

    In short another grab for money so political parasites can play with their games.

  • Alex

    I bet the 95% is garbage; it all must end up in SOME local community.
    For a start, I bet they didn’t measure how many locals have pension funds that invest in supermarket shares.

  • Alex

    So the average amount of money spent shopping in Derby that is “leaving the community” is somewhere between 50% and 95%; let’s guess 66%. So why not just completely cut off Derby from the rest of the world? Then no money can leave the area and everybody in Derby will 3 times as rich. You can see an excellent example of such self-sufficiency and wealth conservation in North Korea. No, wait, that doesn’t sound right.

  • Alex

    A variant of the old “they’re stealing our money” fallacy, tweaked to appeal to localists.

  • Laird

    The key word is “sustainability”. That’s always code for expanding government and (usually) increasing taxes.

  • Mr Ecks

    They are thieves–pure and simple.

    Leftist thieves so they offer bullshit socialist rhetoric–but still thieves.

    The central state has cut some of their cash so they are topping it up with parking charges and speed cameras. Its just thieving. Still not enough to pay the “CEO”s and the pensions.

    In my local small town they intend to put parking meters on the streets–which will wipe out local shops–already pressed by thieving council rates, etc. This supermarket tripe has not been mentioned locally–but once it is in the air–what’s the betting the thieving scum will be shouting that it shows they are “balanced” and not favouring big shops over small?.

  • Fraser Orr

    The word I keyed on was “modest”. A modest tax, much as a nose in the tent is a modest amount of camel.

    But then I read on and found that the “modest” tax was 8.5%. Seriously? They consider adding nearly a tenth to the price of food a modest change? What la-la land do these people live in?

    The real irony is that local governments like to bang on about protecting the poor and elderly, and it is these people who would suffer the most. I wouldn’t like my grocery bill going up 8.5% but I have a flexible enough budget to accommodate the hit. But people on a fixed income or very limited resources will simply have to buy less of life’s necessities.

    And of course the argument might be that they would be driven back to the non taxed “local” shops, except of course groceries generally cost a lot more there because food retail is very much an economy of scale type of thing. Not to mention reduced selection etc.

    Like I say, la-la land. Thankfully I doubt it will happen.

  • RRS

    In the obverse of this kind of thinking:

    How and where does the money come from that “flows out” of these council areas?

    Is it mined locally? Is there a local “spring” for this “flow?”

    If they are suffering from some form of economic diarrhoea, perhaps they should look to their dietary habits.

  • Sometimes government thinks it has REAL authority.

    I came across this lines from 1732

    “De par le Roi, Defense a Dieu

    De faire miracle, en ce lieu.”

    “By order of the King, God is forbidden

    To Perform miracles in this place.”

  • Jerry

    I really need help here.
    Do these people actually believe the bull-squeeze they are pushing ( in which case they are too stupid to be allowed out without a ‘handler’ of some sort ! )
    are have they just come up with another set of lies that they think everyone will accept ( in which case they should be, um, ‘dealt with appropriately’ ) ??
    Or is it some combination of the two ?

    Where in hell do these parasites, and in in either case above that’s what they
    are, come from ??

  • They’re probably just tapping into the bizarre well stream of hate currently felt by a lot of people towards supermarkets, many of whom really ought to know better. When I was last back home I was surprised how many middle and upper class people I came across complaining about a new supermarket opening somewhere or other, who strangely also did all their own shopping in supermarkets. Half the population of the UK think they’re living in the villages described by John Major FFS!

  • Gareth

    If the government wants to raise money from supermarket sales it should do it the same way everyone else has to – by producing marketable goods that supermarkets would want to stock and the public would want to buy.

  • Julie near Chicago

    From the article:

    “The government said additional taxes on supermarkets would push up food prices.”

    Really? REALLY !!!

  • Paul Marks

    Herbert Spencer was a Derby man. Derby being the council that is leading the charge on demanding yet another tax.

    However, the socialist rulers of the place these days probably think he was a “racist and imperialist” “Social Darwinist”.

    The real Herbert Spencer was anti racist AND anti imperialist, and the later misusers of Darwin believed in statist economics that was just about the opposite of the economics of Herbert Spencer.

    However, the rulers of Derby know as much about history as they do about economics – they know less than nothing (because what they think they know is normally the opposite of the truth).

  • chubby funster

    If we paid lawmakers to do nothing, the government would be more productive than them actually doing something.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    Barney Frank famously said: “Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.”

    The key to understanding that is to know that “we” in Mr. Frank’s quip is “the looters”.

  • Rich Rostrom

    That 95% figure is absolute crap, and so is the 50% figure.

    Wages paid to employees who presumably live in the community would be far in excess of 5%. (Though income and payroll taxes would reduce that.)

    Money that “leaves the community” would be the cost of goods sold other than local produce – and I very much doubt that “independent retailers” source much of their goods locally. Not processed food of any kind, unless the factory is down the street. Not fresh food not produced nearby. Which for urban communities is everything.

    And of course not refrigerated cabinets, shelving units, and salespoints.

    In the U.S., local governments welcome big-box retailers, as they get a share of the sales tax generated.

  • bloke in spain

    Anyone who lives in France will tell you what complete bollocks this is.
    My local town has a couple supermarchés, make a Tesco Extra look like a mom’n-pop store. And still manages to have a thriving town centre runs to 9 baker’s & 6 butchers (the English town of equivalent size, I’m writing from, scores 1 & 2). Part of the reason is the hypers attract shoppers from as far afield Ypres in Belgium, who also shop in the town centre whilst they’re there.)
    In any case. They’re ignoring basic Adam Smith. “The sole purpose of production is consumption.” The supermarkets are the benefit to the people of the town. That’s why the people of the town use them. The small shops don’t provide a benefit to the people of the town, so they don’t. The purpose of shopping is not to provide a benefit to shopkeepers.
    If Derby Council wants its small shop sector to prosper, it needs to ensure they can provide a benefit. I’d suggest our French town, with its largely unimpeded parking and, where it’s controlled & priced – the first hour free, second hour at 30 cents, no charge from 12:30 to 14:30, fin de semaine ou jours de fetes – might give them a clue.

  • What BIS said – especially the parking.

  • Mr Ed

    But what BIS suggests (BIF?) is (i) sensible, (ii) practical, (iii) rational and (iv) might solve a problem.

    No English council is going to have any truck with that ‘nonsense’.

  • Andrew Duffin

    It never seems to occur to these people that it’s not the supermarkets who desert the “High Street”, it’s the customers. Whatever your stuck-up Guardian reading bourgeois may say, he actually chooses to do most of his shopping in the supermarket. Revealed preferences, dear boy, revealed preferences.

    Happily, it appears that central government have told the council parasites to shove it, for the time being at least.

    Of course, Weird Millipede, if he wins the next election (quite likely I think) will love the idea.

  • Paul Marks

    There are two supermarkets with an short walk of me.

    There is also a coop.

    This has not led to corner shops closing – there are several of them within a short walk of me also.

    The left are just demented.