Campaign launched over 'pasty tax'

 

A campaign has been launched to oppose a proposed "pasty tax" which could see the cost of Cornwall's favourite food rise by 20%.

In the Budget announcement this week, Chancellor George Osborne said that he was looking at plans to add VAT to hot takeaway food from bakeries and supermarkets.

By closing the anomaly all food sold "above ambient temperature" would carry VAT.

It would mean that the cost of the iconic dish would rise by one-fifth, or add 50p to a £2.50 pasty - and hit the pasty industry in Cornwall hard.

Thousands of people have joined a Facebook campaign urging the Government to rethink the plans and MPs told the House of Commons the move would undermine a sector worth millions to the county.

Cornwall councillor Alex Folkes, who set up the Say No To The Pasty Tax group on Facebook, said: "Plans by the Government to introduce VAT on hot takeaway food from bakeries and supermarkets will actually mean a 'pasty tax' which will cost Cornwall jobs.

"Cornwall is rightly proud of the pasty. But adding 20% VAT to the price will inevitably see a drop in sales with no extra money going to the baker," Mr Folkes, who is deputy Lib Dem leader on Cornwall Council, said.

"Lower sales will mean job losses in areas which cannot afford them.

"The Government has said that they are consulting on this proposal. I hope that they are genuinely going to listen to what people say about the impact on the Cornish economy and that they decide that a pasty tax is a bad idea."

Rob Simmons, a member of Cornish nationalist party Mebyon Kernow, said: "So if and when this legislation is introduced your £2.50 medium steak pasty will now be £3 and your £3 large steak pasty will be £3.60.

"So that's money out of ordinary decent Cornish folks' pockets, a blow to our bakers and hardly great news for tourism.

"The Government is undertaking a consultation and it will be the test of Cornwall's MPs if for once they put Cornwall and our national cuisine before the desires of their parties."

Takeaway pasties are a central feature of West Country holidays and a staple meal for many workers, stretching back to its origins in the tin mining industry.

Mr Osborne said in his Budget announcement that anomalies in VAT would be scrapped on October 1.

Currently VAT is not charged on most food and drink but is payable on takeaway food sold to be eaten hot.

Baked goods that are put on display warm and subsequently cool down are presently exempt.

The Government has launched a consultation on the proposals, which will end on May 4.

Lib Dem MP Steve Gilbert, who represents St Austell and Newquay, asked for clarification on whether the changes would result in a "pasty tax".

"There is some ambiguity about whether the increase to 20% VAT for hot food will include pasties that are served from bakeries," he told the House of Commons.

"Not only is the pasty a staple, hearty meal, it also employs thousands of people and brings in millions of pounds into the Cornish economy."

Party colleague Andrew George, who represents St Ives, told MPs that "we will be fighting them on the beaches" in opposing a pasty tax.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss