Garden Centres Lose £5,000 A Day From Outmoded Religiously Sectarian Rules
THE claim is that garden centres lose £5,000 each by being forced to close on Easter Sunday. This is, of course, an intolerable imposition of Christian rules on a country that isn’t in fact very Christian any more.
However, it should be said that their claim doesn’t have quite as much power to it as they seem to think:
Garden centres want rules reviewed which force them to close on Easter Sunday, causing them to lose up to £75m in takings.
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) said trading rules, which force shops of more than 3,000 sq ft (280 sq m) to close on Easter Sunday and Christmas Day are old fashioned and should be reviewed, allowing families to enjoy garden centres for longer.
They also said the laws mean garden centres lose out on around £5,500 each by staying shut for the day.
Raoul Curtis-Machin of the HTA told BBC News: “That’s a potential economic boost to the country of up to £75m.”
It’s that economic boost to the country thing there that is wrong. It’s true that if those shops all stayed open and if they all sold £5,000 worth of gear then recorded GDP would change by £75 million. We would have £75 million more GDP recorded in the garden centre sector. However, just because garden centres are open on one extra day7 does not mean that shoppers are going to spend more in garden centres. We would expect at least some of that being spent to move from other days. Easter Monday takings, or Good Friday ones, might well fall as a result of being open on Easter Sunday.
And it’s also true that the total amount of what people spend on everything isn’t going to change as a result of people being able to buy aspidistras on Easter Sunday. What isn’t spent in garden centres will be spent in cafes, fish and chip shops, pubs, whatever.
Being open or not being open on Easter Sunday will really only change that portion of what we’re all going to spend anyway that goes to garden centres: and much of the extra turnover will be the movement of purchases at garden centres from one day to another. There won’t be any change in overall GDP as a result of their being able to open that one extra day.
All of this is nothing to do with whether they should be open on that day, whether we are being religiously sectarian in insisting upon these rules, but the argument they’re putting forward themselves just doesn’t really work.