SCARBOROUGH MP Robert Goodwill has backed controversial plans for a Government ‘pasty tax’.
Mr Goodwill said the proposed 20 per cent VAT rise on baked goods would stop a “distortion” of trade between fast-food outlets.
The move would see a significant lift in the cost of warmed bakery favourites, including pies, pasties and sausage rolls.
However, the plans have left a sour taste in the mouths of Scarborough bakery bosses and residents.
Hardies, in Victoria Road, have started a petition against the plan and Cooplands, in Westborough, is also displaying a sign urging customers to put their name to a campaign.
Thomas The Baker, in Aberdeen Walk, Woodheads and Greggs have also backed the calls.
But Mr Goodwill said the tax, due to take effect from October 1, was a necessity to put trading on an even keel.
He said: “I am partial to a pork pie myself and I understand people’s reaction but it is designed to stop the distortion.
“Someone who owns a hot sandwich shop is subject to VAT whereas they is currently no VAT on warmed pasties and pies.
“I can understand how people will feel about it, but it will bring in revenue and that is what we need at the moment. This will remove the distortion between outlets like hot sandwich shops and bakeries.”
Despite Mr Goodwill’s backing, Scarborough bakeries maintained their stance against the proposal.
Ian Hardie, owner of Hardies, which also has a shop in Huntriss Row, said: “Anything that increases the prices for your customers is not a good thing. The level of tax in this country is horrendous already.”
Simon Thomas, general manager of Thomas The Baker, in Scarborough, added: “Who will determine whether or not to charge VAT on it?
“If you are lucky, and arrive just as the sausage rolls are coming out of the oven, they will be hot. However, if you arrive half an hour later, the same product will be cold.”
Chancellor George Osborne previously insisted the tax made sense, but added the Government would not check the temperature of every pasty sold.
He added: “The way we operate with companies and large retail chains and the like is that we don’t do a check on every product sold.
“We come to an agreement with companies over what proportion of their products are sold hot.”