STUDENTS in Spalding are left cold by government plans to charge VAT on their lunchtime hot pasty snack.
Jacob Chapman (17) was tucking into a pasty from Greggs in the town centre, as thousands of bakers marched through London to protest against the charge, which would add 20 per cent to the cost of hot foods.
The Spalding High School student said: “I’m a fan of pasties. We need something nutritional to help us study and they are good value at £1.40.
“But when you are on a lunchtime budget of £2, if VAT is added it won’t leave much for anything else. This would hit a lot of students.”
Staff from Greggs in Lincolnshire were among the pasty makers and fellow bakers who turned up at Downing Street in their chef hats and white tops to hand in petitions against the so-called pasty tax , a proposed 20 per cent VAT budget charge to fresh baked goods.
Chairman of the National Association of Master Bakers Mike Holling was on the march and said they handed in a petition with 500,000 signatures from bakery staff and the public. He said: “This tax would hit the people who can least afford it and the response to our petition is testament of the public opposition to it.”
Karl Sergison, owner of Sergi’s Deli in Francis Street, said he is going to stand the extra charge if the VAT charge is introduced.
He said: “It will probably cost me over a year but I can’t charge one customer £1.95 for a cold pasty and another an extra 39p because they want it hot. Our customers are already struggling with rising prices.“
Kay Duckworth, joint owner of The Maple Leaf in Bridge Street, said the charge would be another blow to high street businesses.
She said: “We are doing OK but we need to be able to attract customers and not lose them because of rising prices.
“Our trade is very dependant on the weather because shoppers prefer to be undercover if its bad. But when it is cold, that’s when they like a hot snack.”
As a result of the protest in London, consultation period for the pasty tax has been extended for two weeks. The Government is looking to vote on it before the summer recess, so it can be implemented on October 1.