Campaign launched over 'pasty tax'

Cornish pastiesA campaign has been launched to oppose a proposed "pasty tax" which could see the cost of Cornwall's favourite food rise by 20%.

In the Budget announcement this week, Chancellor George Osborne said that he was looking at plans to add VAT to hot takeaway food from bakeries and supermarkets.

By closing the anomaly all food sold "above ambient temperature" would carry VAT.

It would mean that the cost of the iconic dish would rise by one-fifth, or add 50p to a £2.50 pasty - and hit the pasty industry in Cornwall hard.

Thousands of people have joined a Facebook campaign urging the Government to rethink the plans and MPs told the House of Commons the move would undermine a sector worth millions to the county.

Cornwall councillor Alex Folkes, who set up the Say No To The Pasty Tax group on Facebook, said: "Plans by the Government to introduce VAT on hot takeaway food from bakeries and supermarkets will actually mean a 'pasty tax' which will cost Cornwall jobs.

"Cornwall is rightly proud of the pasty. But adding 20% VAT to the price will inevitably see a drop in sales with no extra money going to the baker," Mr Folkes, who is deputy Liberal Democrat leader on Cornwall Council, said.

"Lower sales will mean job losses in areas which cannot afford them. The Government has said that they are consulting on this proposal. I hope that they are genuinely going to listen to what people say about the impact on the Cornish economy and that they decide that a pasty tax is a bad idea."

Rob Simmons, a member of Cornish nationalist party Mebyon Kernow, said: "If and when this legislation is introduced, your £2.50 medium steak pasty will now be £3 and your £3 large steak pasty will be £3.60. That's money out of ordinary decent Cornish folks' pockets, a blow to our bakers and hardly great news for tourism."

The Government has launched a consultation on the proposals which will end on May 4.