Campaign launched over 'pasty tax'
Friday 23 March 2012
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.
Times are so tough in Italy that Mafiosi are considering getting jobs
The man they forgot to lock up: Mike Anderson was sentenced to 13 years in jail, but the police never came
Unbeliebable: The White House offers 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
South Korea ferry disaster: Families watch as remains of Sewol victims returned to shore
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict
- 1 Disabled people are trapped in assessment 'nightmare' by PIP benefits regime, says Dr Stephen Duckworth
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Queen turns 88: David Bailey captures another side of the Queen in birthday portrait
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...
£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...