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Chancellor: 'Eat Cold Pasties'

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7:01am 28th March 2012

The Chancellor says Cornwall should eat cold pasties to get round the pasty tax.

George Osborne is adding an extra 20% from October. But he says we can get round it by eating one that is not hot in the bakery.

He insists he is just trying to bring it inline with other snacks.

Speaking to a powerful committee of MPs he said, "If you buy your pasty in a fish and chip shop it almost certainly has VAT on it. If the pasty is heated up in a microwave it has VAT on it. What we are trying to do is make sure that hot takeaway food has VAT on it.

"Thirty years ago there was an intention to make sure that hot takeaway food was VATable. Since then, under all governments, there has been a load of legal action to try to get round that and lots of reasons have been given for why some hot products are not designed to be hot when they're eaten."

Cracks are already showing in the coalition over the pasty tax. Cornish Lib Dem MPs Stephen Gilbert, Andrew George and Dan Rogerson have signed a parliamentary petition trying to stop it becoming law.

The North Cornwall MP said, "The Government are currently only consulting on the idea of whether to charge VAT on hot takeaway food, so this is by no means set in stone.

“The idea behind the proposal is to make sure that large supermarkets that keep takeaway food warm in cabinets would be subject to VAT in the same way that places such as fish and chip shops are.

“This would mean that smaller local businesses would be able to compete with large supermarkets that may be nearby. However, any proposals will need to make sure that there is not an inadvertent impact on the pasty industry here in Cornwall.

“One proposal that has been suggested is to exempt foods which have Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, which the Cornish pasty does. This would mean that the pasty - which is a key part of our regional culture - can be protected.

“I have requested a meeting between ministers in the Treasury and the Cornish Pasty Association in order to discuss the government’s plans further and to ensure that there is no unintentional damage is to our local economy.”

7:01am 28th March 2012

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