Poultry farmers oppose VAT rise

Poultry suppliers have re-opened the "pastygate" tax row by backing a supermarket's campaign to halt a rise in the tax payable on hot roast chickens.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, axed a proposal to impose VAT on all hot food from next month, bowing to pressure to exclude items such as pasties which were left to cool on display. But he retained the measure for food which is kept hot.

Morrisons supermarket, which has organised the petition campaign with the support of the British Poultry Council (BPC), said shoppers were being treated unfairly, claiming most customers buy rotisserie chickens as part of a home roast dinner rather than a takeaway.

The BPC's Peter Bradnock said: "It is a sad irony that this 20 per cent VAT tax will not apply to imports of cooked chicken meat coming from countries like Thailand."