Biscuity economics

Whilst I’m on the subject – of Morrisons, that is – I suspect their new prozac’d automatic checkout lady goes hand-in-hand with the installation of a more intelligent billing system.

Because when I retrieved my receipt the other night, it included a most interesting breakdown at the bottom. I had spent £12.20 – which I sort of knew anyway – and this broke into £11.36 coded as VAT D (or 0%) and £0.84 coded as VAT A (or 20%).

Possibly a ruse to make shoppers more aware that price hikes are not all the fault of the evil retailers!

Still, that was interesting. Since this was a grocery shop, what could possibly be a “luxury” item attracting the vicious Value-added? Hmmm. A quick check down the list and – yes! – it’s the Fox’s caramel rounds with choccy topping.

Not, I hasten to add, a food that I personally eat. I place them in the kitchen cupboard and the rest of the household descend like the proverbial pack of locusts (or is that swarm? Flock? Whatever?).

So, choccy biscuits are luxuries, whilst crunch creams, which appear just below on the list are not.

How peculiar. If you ask me morally, ethically, I’d say that all biscuits are a luxury. I get by perfectly happily on the absolute minimum of biscuity intake and wouldn’t feel especially hard done by if the entire species vanished, overnight, from the supermarket shelves.

So, in terms of what they represent, consumer-wise, I don’t get the distinction.

Economically, though, I’d say that none of them ought to be VAT’d. I mean: biscuits are food. And whilst it may not be entirely wise for one’s diet to be over-reliant on sugary carbs, I can’t see that as being quintessentially worse than some of the muck that people live off.

(Ooops! Was that a touch of holier-than-thou-ish-ness on the part of this girl?).

No matter. Not sure it makes much of a difference. Those who cannot live without their daily injection of caramel choc will continue to but the things. A few might just downshift towards plainer biccies: others might decide, if they are going to be hit with tax anyway, that they will move on up to the hard stuff, and switch to breakfasting on Boost or Mars instead.



2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    bobette said,

    There was a whole test case recently based on Jaffa cakes, was there not, as to whether they were ‘cakes’ (non VAT) or bicuits (VAT). Or was it the other way round?

  2. 2

    Shirley said,

    Bobette has mentioned the jaffa cakes; cakes go hard when left, biscuits go soft. biscuits have VAT.

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