Pasty tax protest descends on Downing Street

The government’s plans to introduce the ‘pasty tax’ continue to provoke anger in the bakery trade.

Last week, hundreds of pasty manufacturers took part in a protest march to Downing Street to complain about George Osborne’s plan to charge VAT at 20% on takeaway items that are currently zero-rated.

Readers will remember that the Chancellor announced a plan to make snacks that are sold at higher than ambient temperature Vatable. This would include items like pasties and sausage rolls that accountants and other professionals buy at lunchtime.

Greggs, the high street bakery chain, organised the action with the National Association of Master Bakers. Greggs chief executive, Ken McMeikan, said bakers and their customers are furious about the proposed pasty tax. A petition, which had been signed by half a million people, was presented to number 10 by the protesters.

The march took place the day after we discovered that the UK is back in recession, prompting McMeikan to comment that the government does not seem to understand the realities of life for normal working people.

The Labour party has also been attempting to topple the tax but to no avail, despite 14 backbenchers from the Tories and Lib Dems joining the cause.

A consultation is currently on-going into the pasty tax and it looks likely that it will be implemented on the first of October this year.

VAT was first introduced on hot fast food in the 1980s by the then chancellor, Nigel Lawson. However, freshly baked products that were still warm when sold were exempt.

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