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Cornish MPs Lay into Pasty Tax

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6:53am 29th March 2012

Cornwall's MPs are uniting against plans for a pasty tax.

All three Conservative MPs, George Eustice, Sheryll Murray and Sarah Newton, have called for all Cornish people to respond to the formal Consultation on the HMRC website describing it as “the most positive way in which Cornish people and businesses can make their voice heard."

Speaking in the Commons, Truro and Falmouth's Sarah Newton warned, "Creative industries are vital to Cornwall, but so is creating high-quality food products. There is growing concern throughout Cornwall about the possible unintended consequences of the Budget and about the undoubtedly real threat to the Cornish pasty of the pasty tax.”

Sheryll Murray, MP for South East Cornwall, has written to the Chancellor warning the tax is "ill thought out". She said, “Who is going to monitor the ambient against pasty temperature?  Surely the last thing we need is to employ an army of thermometer wielding tax inspectors poking our pasties to see if they have cooled enough?  If a pasty is sitting in a window and the sun is shining then is this pasty VATable?  If a pasty is sold cold but an oven is made available to customers, is this then VATable?  Would it be VATable if a charge was made for the use of the oven?”

Camborne and Redruth's George Eustice said, "The Pasty is a huge industry in Cornwall enjoyed by people every day and we need the largest number possible from Cornwall to respond to this consultation.”

St Ives Lib Dem MP Andrew George warned the government the Cornish people would "fight them on the beaches." He said, "For the Chancellor to tell working Cornish folk that they can ‘eat their pasties cold’ fails to recognise the long tradition and how important this humble square meal is to working people in our country.

 This may be a way for the Government to generate consistency between hot take away chicken which is VATable and hot take away chicken from supermarkets which is not."

North Cornwall's Dan Rogerson added, "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.”

Mid Cornwall MP Stephen Gilbert has written to the Chancellor demanding a meeting. He said, "These proposals could hit the pasty industry greatly. I’m determined to find a way for the Pasty to be exempt from this tax and protect the industry that brings millions to the Cornish economy and directly employs thousands of local people."

6:53am 29th March 2012

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