The UK coalition government at Westminster has declared war on hot pasties, taxing their eaters heavily! Will Cornwall yet declare war on Westminster?
In his Budget this week, Chancellor George Osborne announced that he is putting 20% VAT on ‘food sold above ambient temperature, and that may include bakers pasties.
George Osborne said the rules would simplify the tax system and put everyone selling hot food on the same footing as fast food chains.
In reality, layers of complexity have been added which could even require a system of inspections to establish whether pasties are hot when handed over at the till.
Guidance notes issued by Whitehall to cover the proposals introduce a series of anomalies that will trigger a fierce row between retailers and the Government. The new regime means that, in theory, every food item that is hotter than the surrounding ambient air temperature will be liable for 20 per cent VAT.
In the high street, this means a hot sausage roll or Cornish pasty carries VAT but a cold one does not.
Councillors in Cornwall said the tax attack would hit jobs and the pockets of residents and workers.
Pasties aren’t just a national food, and a symbol of Cornwall, they are a key part of the local manufacturing economy and thousands of people in Cornwall are employed either directly or indirectly by the pasty industry.
Raising the price of pasties (especially when the extra money goes to the government, not the firms) will cut sales and lead to job losses.
A facebook page has been started to raise awareness of this national issue:
Some comments show Cornish attitudes to officialdom not seen since the Cornish food riots of 1846-47.
The proposals also include a VAT exemption for freshly baked bread, which is still warm when it is purchased. This leaves the door open for enormous confusion over what is classified as freshly baked bread.
Does a still warm Cornish Split carry VAT, or not?’
Information from a baker’s point of view here:
The Chancellor is still consulting on this proposal – let him know what you think!
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2012/vat-con-4801.pdf – consultation document
Email his Department at: email@example.com
e-Petition to the UK Government:
Petition form for printing/downloading, and signing by one and all:
Note: It has been revealed that the government will in fact not place the VAT on pasties out of the oven and cooling down – only on those kept hot or reheated. A small concession, but welcome none the less.