Pasty tax U-turn is welcomed by bakers

Staff from Boots Opticians and Scarborough Blind and Partially Sighted Thomas The Baker staff member Dee Everall pictured with the company's petition against the pasty tax.'121604b.
Staff from Boots Opticians and Scarborough Blind and Partially Sighted Thomas The Baker staff member Dee Everall pictured with the company's petition against the pasty tax.'121604b.

A Government U-turn on a proposed Hot Food Tax has been welcomed by bakers who protested against the policy when it was announced.

Supporters of the campaign against the so-called “Pasty Tax” are celebrating after it was announced that it would only apply to food which was kept warm or heated to order.

The policy attracted a groundswell of protest with a 500,000 signature petition presented to Downing Street claiming that charging VAT on food above ambient air temperature was unworkable.

As reported several Scarborough-based bakeries joined the campaign with thousands of customers adding their names to the list of people opposed to the move.

Paul Coopland, the managing director of Cooplands, said his customers contributed 45,000 signatures to the petition and welcomed the news.

He added: “It is good news for our customers – coming at a time when economic conditions are as they are – having to add 20 per cent onto our savouries would be very unwelcome.

“It’s pleasing that common sense has prevailed and they have realised that it’s not only unwelcome but unworkable as well.

“As a business we are trying to keep our costs down.”

Ian Hardie, a partner with Hardies’ Patisserie, said the current proposal was more sensible. He added: “I think it was silly what they were thinking. It hadn’t been thought out properly. It was a tax on the working man.”

Thomas the Baker was another company which joined hundreds of bakeries to march on Downing Street to present the petition to Parliament.

The family-run bakery gathered more than 10,000 signatures from customers branding the proposed tax as “impossible to police”.

Steve Simpson, the bakery’s production director, said: “We were delighted and relieved to hear the chancellor’s statement with the fantastic news that common sense has prevailed and a compromise has been agreed at last.

“The whole industry was in agreement that the proposed tax was full of inconsistencies, that would be impossible to manage, so it’s great news that the Government have agreed to our proposal and have dropped the tax for freshly baked hot products that are not intentionally kept warm.”

And Scarborough’s MP, Robert Goodwill, said the change in policy showed that the Government had listened to people’s views.

He said: “If the pasty or pie is hot because it’s just been made then its a zero rate but if it’s kept hot in a cabinet that will attract VAT. It is good news for Woodheads, Hardies, Cooplands, Thomas the Baker and Greggs – it’s a reasonable compromise.”

He added that a lower five per cent rate on static caravans, which was also announced this week, would be a big boost to the local economy because of the number of holiday parks along the east coast.