Welcome U-turn on proposed pasty tax

Jacob Chapman can carry on enjoying a lunchtime pasty without worrying about a price rise.
Jacob Chapman can carry on enjoying a lunchtime pasty without worrying about a price rise.

STUDENTS in Spalding can stop worrying their favourite lunchtime snack is going to bust the budget after this week’s announcement about the pasty tax.

Pasties and other bakery items will no longer attract VAT if they are “cooling down” after being removed from the oven.

Chancellor George Osborne controversially proposed in the Budget that any food served above ambient temperature would be taxed at 20 per cent to address an “anomaly” in the system.

Spalding High School student Jacob Chapman (17) said the tax would hit teenager’s pockets hard.

He said: “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.”

Chairman of the National Association of Master Bakers Mike Holling went on the march to Downing Street with a petition with 500,000 signatures from bakery staff and the public.

He told the Spalding Guardian: “This is fantastic news – and a surprise when we heard it late on Monday night, especially since we were not expecting an announcement until July.

“It is good news for all craft bakers in Spalding and the high street – a victory for common sense, brought about by pressure from our members and the general public who did not want to be paying 20 per cent more.”

Staff from Greggs in Lincolnshire, which has a shop in Spalding high street, were among the pasty makers and fellow bakers who also protested. Shares in the company rose nine per cent yesterday, following a fall of 15 per cent after the Budget through fears of job losses. A spokesman for the company said they welcomed the news, although they were unable to say whether any of the job losses would have been in Spalding.

Karl Sergison, owner of Sergi’s Deli in Francis Street, serves five different types of pasty and had pledged to stand the extra charge for his customers.

He said: “This is fantastic news – especially as the Government has listened to the masses. Now I won’t have to take the hit – it all adds up.”