Store petition on ‘half-baked’ plan

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. Picture Kevin Allen
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. Picture Kevin Allen
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A SCARBOROUGH bakery has launched a huge petition against the controversial Government ‘pasty tax’.

Bosses at Thomas The Baker, in Aberdeen Walk, have vowed to fight the 20 per cent VAT increase on savoury favourites including pasties and sausage rolls.

The store has produced petition forms for customers to sign in response to the much-maligned proposals by Chancellor George Osborne.

And the move has already attracted scores of signatures, with customers branding the Government’s notion a half-baked plan.

Simon Thomas, the company’s general manager, said if the proposals came to fruition, it would be “impossible to police” and leave paying customers at a significant loss.

He said: “As many of our loyal customers know, if you arrive at one of our shops just as the sausage rolls are coming out of the oven they will be hot.

“However, if you arrive half an hour later that same product will be cold.

“So who will determine if that product has dropped below ambient temperature and whether or not to charge VAT on it?

“If you are behind the last person in the lunchtime queue who just purchased an ambient pasty without VAT, and then you buy a freshly baked pasty just as it comes out of the oven, you will be charged 20 per cent more than the person in front of you.

“We will find this situation impossible to police.”

Mr Thomas revealed the petition has been spread across the company’s 34 stores and could be extended online and to relevant MPs who serve towns where their outlets are based.

However, he revealed he feared for the knock-on effect of the measures on fellow businesses.

He added: “We purchase prime, fresh, locally reared meats for all our pasties and pies from a butcher in Helmsley and flour from a company in Driffield.

“Both suppliers have had to pass on very significant increases in price as their raw material prices have increased.

“As a business we have done our best to absorb these and not pass them onto our customers, but it would be impossible for us to absorb the further 20 per cent VAT increase.

“There is no doubt that should the VAT increase be applied, we will sell less products.

“In turn, many of our suppliers and many other local businesses will lose trade as a result.

“It certainly will not help the local economy.”

Fellow bakeries in Scarborough including Hardies, Cooplands, Woodheads and Greggs have also previously vowed to battle against the Government’s proposals.

However, Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill defended the plans.

He added: “I understand people’s reaction but it is designed to stop distortion in trade.

“Someone who owns a hot sandwich shop is subject to VAT whereas there is currently no VAT on warmed pasties and pies.

“This will bring revenue in and that is what we need at the moment.”