Protest against ‘pasty tax’

A BAKER says plans to tax hot takeaway foods like pies and pasties could have a ‘devastating’ impact on businesses like his.

David Astill, who owns Astills of Worle, helped to collect nearly 1,000 signatures against the controversial Government decision to add 20 per cent on to the price of some warm snacks.

Almost half a million people nationally are reported to have signed petitions against the proposals, which were revealed in the March budget.

The Treasury says VAT is already charged on most hot food and it is merely extending it to pies and pasties.

Mr Astill, whose shop in the High Street does a good trade on hot food, says the proposals are ‘practically’ unworkable because ‘it depends on the relative hotness of the product in comparison to the ambient temperature in the shop’.

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He added: “Not much thought has gone into it.

“This could be devastating for a small business like this one.

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“Small bakers do a lot of business through hot takeaway food.

“We can’t absorb the 20 per cent, so prices would have to go up. With things as they are with the economy this is something we are reluctant to do.

“It’s just another thing that will make it difficult for businesses to survive.”

The shop, in High Street, which has been a family business in the same spot for nearly 40 years, collected about 40 sheets of signatures against the proposals.

The National Association of Master Bakers helped organise a protest march on Downing Street last week against the plans.

Group director Christopher Beaney said: “They’ve changed the rules so that if someone comes into our shop and a tray of sausage rolls comes out of the oven, we’re not allowed to sell those sausage rolls unless we put VAT on them.

“Or we say to them ‘hang on 10 minutes and you can have it without VAT’.

“It’s going to be completely impossible to police.”

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